Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Shrimp "On a Stick!" -- from Matt Armendariz

There really is something that’s just plain ol’ fun about eating food on a stick. I just loved eating cotton candy and caramel apples as kid when we went to the county fair. But now that I’m (very) grown-up, I can enjoy the adult treats that 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
Serves 4

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.


  1. Thank you so much! Wow, you really put a smile on my face and made my day!!!!! thank you thank you thank you thank you!!!!

  2. These look fabulous and are making my stomach growl at 9:53 in the morning! The book sounds like it has a lot of cool ideas to try. I think the boys would adore the breakfast on a stick!

  3. Shrimp is my your recipe:)

  4. Oh man! I love food on sticks! This sounds like a fabulous book and a must read :) Gonna have to investigate further

  5. Thank you, and Matt, for yet another way to prepare shrimp--a favorite in this house. Now I'm going over to check Matt out.


  6. I have Matt's book. It is so much fun and yet filled with fantastic recipes!

  7. you gotta love food on a stick, and the shrimp recipe sounds so very very delicious! Thanks for reviewing the book and making that shrimp to tempt us with!

  8. This sounds so yummy.. I love the coloring on those shrimp and I bet it tastes fantastic too! Great book review... must check this book out! Thanks for sharing :)

  9. What a nice recipe. The shrimp looks delicious and I have a family who will devour them whenever they are served. I'm always looking for new ways to prepare shrimp and I just have found a new one. The book also sounds terrific. I hope you have a great day. Blessings...Mary

  10. Oh this looks so good!! Thanks so much for sharing the recipe!!

  11. My all-time favorite spice...paprika! Love the combination of the smoked, and the sweet, also the cumin is a nice combo used with the paprika.
    I have used a similar paprika marinade, but have not used the smoked paprika. Shrimp is awesome on a stick. Great book review, and yummy shrimp!
    BTW-Rosemary, I have an award for you to claim on my blog. Just copy and paste, and pass it on to other bloggers of your choice.
    Congratulations, well deserved:DDD

  12. I love food on a stick and it seems there is quite a lot of unusual treats in Matt's book. Loving the prawns.

  13. I don't think I could ever take a cookbook to bed with me. If I did I would surely end up raiding the fridge in the middle of the night! The shrimp on a stick are maikng me hungry!

  14. What a fantastic dish!! These look delicious! :)

  15. I'll have to check out this cookbook. I love the shrimp. Who doesn't love food on a stick? Yum!

  16. Those look so good! I could eat shrimp for every meal!


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