As part of our Treat. Yo. Self. month, treating myself means seafood since I’m from Maine originally. I can still eat shrimp, but I have other shellfish allergies so I may lose shrimp eventually. But for now, I use them as an occasional treat. The recipe should be enough for about 8 skewers of shrimp with 6 or so shrimp on a skewer. But since I only had 4 stainless steels skewers and was too lazy to soak the bamboo ones in water for 30 minutes, the pictures show extreme shrimp skewers. So I really did treat myself, ha! This is a great appetizer dish for a dinner party or cook out and you can cook them under the broiler in your oven or on the grill. Or if you wish, use them in salad or as a special garnish on soup.
This recipe isn’t for those of you who are allergic to shellfish or who are vegetarian or vegan. But if you are allergic to shellfish and you can eat chicken, try it with chicken. For those of you who are vegetarian or vegan, try it with veggies. The seasoning mix by itself should be vegan with appropriately sourced sugar. You will have to cook the skewers much longer if you chicken or veggies, shrimp cooks very quickly.
For those of you that may have issues with buying spice blends due to anti-caking agents or cross contamination, I’ve developed a version of Cajun Seasoning below which I use now. If you can still use a blend, I recommend the Penzey’s Cajun Seasoning (no affiliation). I love Penzey’s and I can still use their single spices without issue.
- 4 tbsp smoked paprika use regular paprika if you don't have smoked
- 2 tbsp salt
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1/2 tsp celery seed
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1/2 tsp caraway seed
- 1/2 tsp dill seed
- 1/2 tsp turmeric
- 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- 1 bay leaf broken into small pieces
- 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp ground cardamom
- 1/4 tsp basil
- 1/4 tsp marjoram
- 1/4 tsp rosemary
- Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until fine. You can also use a coffee grinder dedicated to spice grinding and do it in batches. If you do, pour all the spices into a bowl and mix well after grinding.
Cajun Seasoned Shrimp Skewers:
The whole recipe is in the recipe card below, but here’s my process pictures and some tips.
I defrost my shrimp in a colander set in a bowl of cold water for about 10 minutes. Then I can just lift the colander out.
When peeling the shells off the shrimp I take the tails off because I don’t want my guests to have to do it, and half the time they’ll just nibble up to the tail, and leave the tail meat in the tail shell. That’s a waste of seafood which is unconscionable to me. So I take the tails off. I usually buy my shrimp de-veined already, but if yours is not, here’s how to do it.
I’m loving these stainless steel skewers. They are flat so that the food does not spin on them when you are turning them over. I’m not sure where I got these and why there are only four in my possession. However, I did go poking around and pop some more on my Amazon wish list (no affiliation) so I can get some for cook out season.
Before you cook your shrimp you should notice that they have a translucent quality to them. Once they are cooked they will look opaque. They really only need 2-3 minutes a side depending on your oven or grill. If you overcook them, they will become rubbery and unpleasant.
When ready to serve, use one of the lemon quarters to squeeze lemon juice over the skewer or let your guests do it.
- 1 pound raw shrimp peeled and de-veined
- 2 tsp Cajun Seasoning (if you can use Penzey's great! If not, we have a version on the blog.)
- 3 tbsp grape seed oil (I used grape seed, but use what's safe for you.)
- dash salt
- 1 lemon cut in quarters
- 8 skewers stainless steel or bamboo
- Preheat the broiler in your oven or your grill. If using a grill, preheat to 500°F. If you are using bamboo skewers, you will need to soak them in water for 30 minutes before using.
- Thaw shrimp if frozen. Peel shells and de-vein. I prefer to take the tail shells off, but that's up to you. Place shrimp on skewers and place skewers on a broiler safe pan.
- Mix Cajun Seasoning and a dash of salt with the grape seed oil in a small bowl. Use a basting brush to brush the mixture on both sides of the shrimp skewers.
- Broil or grill 2 minutes on each side. The shrimp should turn opaque when cooked. Squeeze lemon quarter over shrimp before serving. Enjoy!