I asked Chef Lourdes Castro to be a guest blogger today because I know that my readers will enjoy her thoughts and recipes as much as I do! I met Lourdes many years ago at the launch party for her first cookbook, Simply Mexican. She and I both belong to a group called Les Dames d’Escoffier International, a philanthropic society of professional women in the food business. Les Dames was hosting Lourdes’ book party, so of course it was a fantastic evening with great food, great guests, and delicious margaritas. Since then I have referenced Simply Mexican so many times when I wanted to create an authentic Mexican dish in my kitchen.
Keep reading, I’m sure you will soon become a fan too!


It always happens around the time I start seeing green leprechauns appear. As soon as March rolls around I immediately want to put away my winter gear and head for the beach.  My body craves the warm sun and I hunger for the briny smell of the ocean.

Having grown up in Miami, I took perpetually warm weather for granted.  It didn’t matter if it was July or December, the beach and my bikini were always within reach.  Don’t get me wrong, I love NY and its seasons, but every once in a while, especially in March, I cave and wish it was a warm sunny beach day.

So what am I going to do about it?  Well, while I can’t get to the Caribbean this month, I can bring a little Caribbean to me.  One of my favorite beach vacations was in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico where fishermen walked along the shoreline with long skewers of freshly caught and perfectly grilled fish.  Small charcoal grills cooked the fish to smokey goodness and the warm salty sea breeze took care of everything else.  The vendors were clever enough to place a lime wedge at the top of the skewer so you simply had to gently squeeze the lime to add a pop of brightness to the grilled fish chucks.  All of this, of course, while my feet are buried in the sand.

As a way of transporting me back to that warm sunny beach, I’ve created a version of those grilled fish skewers by coating readily available shrimp with a wet smoked paprika spice paste.  I can’t tell you how much I love this smokey spice.  Made by drying bell peppers and smoking them with oak wood, smoke paprika imparts the perfect burnt red hue on fish or meat and an incredibly addicting smokey flavor.  Not exactly a charcoal smokiness, but a delicious smokiness all the same.

PS – This recipe is bikini and beach friendly. Scroll down to the nutrient breakdown and see for yourself.

Smoked Paprika Grilled Shrimp

Serves 4

*This recipe makes for a great appetizer or hors d’oeuvre.  Simply thread one shrimp onto a small skewers and pile them on a platter.

1/3 cup olive oil

2 teaspoons smoked paprika

2 cloves garlic

1/2 teaspoon Salt

1/4 teaspoon Black Pepper

1 1/2 pounds large shrimp, peeled and deveined

2 limes, cut into wedges


Soak the skewers

Soak wooden skewers in water for 15 minutes.

Create the paste

Place the olive oil, smoked paprika, garlic, salt, and black pepper in a small food processor to blender and puree until it forms a smooth paste.

Grill (or pan sear) the shrimp

Skewer the shrimp onto the skewers and slather them with the smoked paprika paste.  Allow to marinate for 15 minutes.

Heat your grill pan or non-stick skillet over medium-high heat.  When the pan is hot, add the shrimp and sear for 4 minutes per side.


Spear a lime wedge on the top of each skewer and serve.

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Nutrient Breakdown

Per dinner size serving

Calories 296

Total Fat 17 grams

Saturated Fat 2 grams

Total Carbohydrates 7 grams

Fiber 1 gram

Sugar 0 grams

Protein 32 grams

Vitamin A 11%*

Vitamin C 18%*

*of daily needs

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Born in Miami to Cuban parents, Lourdes Castro has appeared on NBC’s Today Show, CBS’ Early Show, and regularly on CNN en Español. Lourdes is the author of three cookbooks Simply Mexican; Eat, Drink, Think in Spanish and Latin Grilling.  She attended NYU and Columbia Univeristy.  As a Registered Dietician, Lourdes is an Adjunct Professor in the department of Nutrition, Food Studies & Public Health.  She currently lives in New York City. Visit her website at www.SliceThin.com.