I was desperate to use my grill by the end of last week, after numerous rainy days, and more in sight for the evening. After checking the weather channel, and seeing that the rain was supposed to start around 7pm, I had just enough time to make my shrimp and sausage skewers before impending doom- that is, if the meteorologists were correct with their timing. Seeing as it was 5:45, my bamboo skewers had to soak for an hour, and the kebabs had to cook for 6-8 minutes, it was a race against time. Thankfully, luck was on my side on Friday night, as I finished up just as I felt the first raindrops start to fall.
Deciding to chance it was the best decision I could have made though. These skewers were so good that I would gladly had stood out in the pouring rain, sheltering them from the precipitation, if needed. What’s great about these particular skewers is that all you have to really worry about it cooking the shrimp, as the sausage used is precooked, which takes out the threat of overcooked meat from the equation- an ailment that plagues many kebabs. The glaze was an added bonus in these skewers. Have you ever had smoked paprika? It is a far cry from the generic paprika which is a great coloring agent, but doesn’t add too much flavor. One whiff of smoked paprika and you know you’re in a whole other flavorful territory.
Grilled Shrimp and Sausage Skewers with Smoky Paprika Glaze
3/4 cup olive oil
4 large garlic cloves, pressed
2 tbsp chopped fresh thyme (or 2 tsp dried thyme)
5 tsp smoked paprika
4 tsp Sherry wine vinegar
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp dried crushed red pepper
12-20 extra-large shrimp
12-16 1-inch-long pieces andouille sausage (about 16 ounces) (or other fully cooked smoked sausage, such as linguica)
2 bell peppers (red, orange, or yellow), cut into 1- 1 1/2 inch pieces
1 vidalia onion cut into 1 – 1 1/2 inch pieces, each piece should be 2 layers
6-8 metal or bamboo skewers (** If using bamboo skewers, make sure to soak them at least 1 hour)
1. In a medium bowl, whisk together oil, garlic, thyme, smoked paprika, vinegar, salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper. Transfer half of the mixture to a small bowl for serving, and reserve the other half to use while cooking.
2. Make your skewers by alternately threading on shrimp, sausage, peppers, and onions. Depending on how many pieces of shrimp and sausage you have, and how many skewers, each will have about 2 pieces of each shrimp, sausage, peppers, and onions. A couple of mine had three shrimp each. Arrange the skewers on a large rimmed baking sheet.
3. Prepare grill to medium-high heat. Coat the grates with oil (I used canola). Brush both sides of the skewers with the glaze, and place on the grill. Grill about 6-8 minutes, until the shrimp are opaque, turning and brushing with glaze occasionally.
4. Serve the skewers with the reserved glaze.
- The original recipe in Bon Appetit uses cherry tomatoes and red onion in place of the peppers and vidalia onion. My tomatoes and red onion had unexpectedly gone bad, so I substituted the other veggies, so feel free to use whatever you want. They will still be crunchy, with the edges being slightly more cooked. Alternately, you don’t even have to put the veggies on if you don’t want… I was just pretending to be healthy.
- In the original recipe, the shrimp that it calls for are the extra-large shrimp, sometimes called colossal, which have 13-15 per pound, and the recipe called for 12 which would be just under a pound. I couldn’t find these at the market, but they did have the jumbo shrimp which were 16-20 per pound. I ended up with 20 slightly smaller shrimp, and this is why I ended up doing more skewers, with some having more shrimp per skewer. Feel free to use either- the U 13-15 are hard to find in my experience.
- I realized as I was making this that I didn’t have fresh thyme, so I substituted the dry. A general rule of thumb is that 1 tbsp of fresh herbs, equals 1 tsp of dry herbs.
- I used Pimenton de la Vera for my paprika, which is a hot smoked paprika. You can also used sweet smoked paprika if you want. It’s sometimes labeled “Pimenton Dulce” or “Pimenton de la Vera Dulce”. Don’t use the normal paprika you may have in your spice cabinet- the smoked paprika makes a huge difference!