Matt Armendariz shares in his book “On a Stick!” The sub-title of the book is “80 Party-Perfect Recipes.” He’s right: This recipe collection just screams party.
I often take a cookbook to bed with me to read, and that’s what I did with my review copy. I was hard pressed to pick the first one wanted to try for my party for two with Mr. Rosemary. Was it going to be the Lamb Souvlaki? The Coconut Shrimp? Fish Balls? Deep Fried Ravioli? Molotes? Crispy Orange Beef Skewers? Tough choice. And tougher to get to sleep that night thinking about which one I’d make.
My first pick was Pinchos de Gambas, sweetly spicy grilled shrimp. And the main reason I chose it was because I did have all the ingredients on hand, even the smoked paprika. Do not substitute; the smoked paprika is a necessity. And I’d just been to the store and had a bag of fresh limes, too. So I was ready.
A lot of paprika and cumin gives the shrimp a smoky, spicy flavor and a rich mahogany color. Although the recipe calls for a lot of spice, it’s not overpowering. I love shrimp, always have, and usually like it plain and simply grilled. (So does Mr. Rosemary.) But this spicy version just may become the favored alternate here. It was scrumptious. I served it with coconut rice and steamed broccoli. A great party for two. Matt suggests, appropriately, having a glass of Spanish red with the shrimp. but I had to stick with the New York white we had.
The book is a treat to read and look at. The photographs are superb and make you salivate. And make up a guest list.
The recipes range from savory to sweet, and from the more traditional, like Chicken Satay and Caprese Sticks and Corn Dogs to the unusual like Spaghetti and Meatballs (yes, on a stick) and Son-in-Law Eggs and Pizza Skewers. There’s breakfast on a stick – pancake batter dipped sausages, deep fried, and dipped in syrup, and Cake Pops, and Deep Fried Candy Bars and the dessert I’m going to have at my next party – Chocolate Dipped Cheesecake.
What I really want to make is Suppli, deep-fried balls of rice wrapped around mozzarella. Next.
The book is a showcase for Matt’s creativity. He also includes recipes for a variety of dips and sauces for your stick food. It’s a delightful book and party-inspiring. There are a lot of deep fried recipes, so I might just choose one of them if I was hosting a party for more than two, and some of the ingredients might be a little difficult for someone who lives in the sticks (bad pun, I know) to find, but when you’re having a party you make the effort.
These shrimps, though were pretty effortless . . . and highly recommended.
Pinchos de Gambas
From On a Stick! by Matt Armendariz
Photo and Recipe used with permission
8 bamboo skewers
2 tablespoons smoked paprika
2 tablespoons sweet paprika
½ tablespoon cumin
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 pound tiger shrimp, cleaned and peeled, with tails intact
Soak skewers in water 30 minutes.
Whisk smoked paprika, sweet paprika, cumin, garlic, salt, pepper, lime juice, and 1/3 cup olive oil in a medium bowl. Add shrimp and gently toss. Refrigerate 30 minutes to 1 hour.
Heat grill or grill pan to medium high and brush with the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil. Thread 3 shrimp per skewer and grill 3 to 4 minutes on each side, or just until shrimp has cooked through. (Be careful not to overcook.) Serve hot.