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Test Kitchen video tips: Soak wooden skewers before grilling

June 13, 2012 |  6:00 am

Before you throw your next batch of skewers on the grill, take some time to soak the wood before threading the food. Wooden skewers, like the classic bamboo skewers pictured above, can burn easily over a hot grill. Soaking them in warm water for 10 to 30 minutes before threading will keep the skewers from cooking along with the food.

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Video credit: Myung Chun / Los Angeles Times

Pinchos de gambas

Total time: 20 minutes, plus marinating and soaking time

Servings: 8 skewers

Note: Adapted from "On a Stick!" by Matt Armendariz.

2 tablespoons smoked paprika

2 tablespoons sweet paprika

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

2 tablespoons lime juice

1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

1 pound tiger shrimp, peeled and cleaned, tail on

1. In a large bowl, whisk together the smoked paprika, sweet paprika, cumin, garlic, salt, pepper, lime juice and one-third cup olive oil. Add the shrimp and gently toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate 30 minutes to 1 hour.

2. Soak the skewers 30 minutes before grilling, then thread the shrimp, 3 to each skewer.

3. Heat a grill or grill pan over medium-high heat. Brush the grill with the remaining 2 tablespoons oil. Grill the shrimp just until cooked through (the shrimp will become firm and turn opaque), 2 to 4 minutes per side. Serve hot.

Each skewer: 103 calories; 10 grams protein; 2 grams carbohydrates; 0.5 gram fiber; 7 grams fat; 1 gram saturated fat; 91 mg cholesterol; 0 sugar; 482 mg sodium.

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