Smoked Paprika Shrimp With Poblano Polenta And Red Pepper-Agave Sauce
In this dish, smoky sweetness from the purity of nature celebrates a union of Spanish and Mexican ingredients. Photos courtesy of McCormick.




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January 2009

Product Reviews / Main Nibbles / Fish, Seafood & Caviar

Recipe: Smoked Paprika Shrimp With Poblano Polenta & Red Pepper-Agave Sauce


The savory-sweet match of Spanish smoked paprika and agave nectar brings sweet smoky heat to this vibrantly flavored and colored dish. Paprika is made from dried, smoked red bell peppers. Agave (pronounced uh-GAH-vay) is a species of succulent plant that grows chiefly in Mexico and surrounding areas. The sap or juice of the leaves is about 90% fructose. Unlike the crystalline form of fructose, which is refined primarily from corn, agave syrup is fructose in its natural, unprocessed form. It is lower on the glycemic scale than sugar, and can be consumed by many diabetics. And it’s delicious. Some varieties of agave are fermented and distilled into mezcal and tequila.

Pair this dish with a Smoky Margarita, which also showcases the combination of agave and smoked paprika.

Yields 4 servings.

Red Pepper-Agave Sauce Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 cup chopped red onion
  • 3 tablespoons agave nectar or honey
  • 1-1/2 pounds red bell peppers, roasted*, or 1 jar (12 to 13 ounces) roasted red peppers, drained
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste

*See instructions for how to roast peppers, below.

Poblano Polenta Ingredients

  • 1 quart (4 cups) milk
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 cup polenta
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup shredded Manchego cheese
  • 1 cup fresh or thawed frozen corn
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped roasted poblano
    † or 1 tablespoon chopped drained
    pickled jalapeño chile

Smoked Paprika and Agave Nectar
Sweet meets smoky in this flavor combination.

†See instructions for how to roast chiles, below.

Smoked Paprika Shrimp Ingredients

  • 1 pound large shrimp (21 to 25 count), peeled and deveined
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika‡
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced

‡In Hungary, there are six classes, or types, of paprika ranging from delicate to hot. The regular paprika most people have in the spice cabinet is probably a mild, sweet paprika. Spanish smoked paprika is a special kind, smoked over oak fires to obtain a smoky flavor. In order to achieve the flavors of this recipe, you’ll need to use Spanish smoked paprika.


  1. For the Red Pepper-Agave Sauce: Heat oil in small skillet on medium heat. Add onion; cook and stir 2 minutes or until softened. Add agave nectar; cook and stir 1 minute or until onion starts to caramelize.
  2. Place roasted bell peppers, chicken broth, heavy cream, tomato paste and onion mixture in blender or food processor; cover. Purée until smooth. Spoon bell pepper mixture into medium saucepan. Bring to boil on medium heat. Cook 10 to 12 minutes or until sauce is slightly thickened. Keep warm.
  3. For the Poblano Polenta: Bring milk and sea salt to simmer in heavy 2-quart saucepan on medium heat. Whisking constantly, add polenta in thin stream. Stirring frequently, cook 10 minutes. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. Stir in butter, corn, cheese and chile until well mixed. Keep warm.
  4. For the Smoked Paprika Shrimp: Toss shrimp with 1 tablespoon of the oil. Sprinkle with smoked paprika, sea salt and pepper. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in large nonstick skillet on medium-high heat. Add shrimp; cook and stir 3 minutes or just until shrimp turn pink.
  5. To serve: Spoon Poblano Polenta onto each plate. Drizzle Red Pepper-Agave Sauce around polenta. Arrange Smoked Paprika Shrimp on sauce. Sprinkle with green onions.

How To Roast Bell Peppers & Poblano Chiles

  • On A Gas Stovetop: Cook the peppers directly over a medium-high gas flame until blackened on all sides, turning with tongs. Transfer peppers and chiles to a paper bag. Close bag. Let stand 15 minutes or until peppers are cool enough to handle. Peel off blackened skin. Remove tops, ribs and seeds.

  • Under The Broiler: Preheat broiler. Halve and core the peppers. Remove the tops, ribs and seeds. Place the pepper halves on a baking sheet, cut-side down. Broil 5 to 7 minutes or until the skin has blistered and blackened over the entire surface. Transfer to a paper bag. Close bag. Let stand 15 minutes or until peppers are cool enough to handle. Peel off blackened skin.



Recipe © 2008 McCormick. All rights reserved. Other material Lifestyle Direct, Inc. All rights reserved.