Cinco de Mayo Recipe: Grilled Shrimp with Padrón Peppers

Throw a fiesta with this flavorful recipe – fire up the grill, and discover the flavors of Mexican cuisine, updated with fresh ingredients.

Grilled Shrimp with Padrón Peppers ~ Ancho Chile Spiked Compound Butter. Credit: Karen Sheer

Grilled Shrimp with Padrón Peppers ~ Ancho Chile Spiked Compound Butter. Credit: Karen Sheer

Celebrate Cinco de Mayo with this Modern Mexican influenced dish.

What better time to expand your palate than Cinco de Mayo, the celebration in honor of the Mexican army’s win over the French at the 1862 Battle of Puebla? These skewers may be Americanized, but they’re pretty simple. If you’re throwing a Cinco de Mayo fiesta for amigos – shrimp is wildly popular, this recipe will sure to please!

Skewered Shrimp and subtly spicy Spanish Padrón Peppers are simply grilled, inside or out with a spiked Compound Butter and topped with a Roasted Pepper Salsa. Padróns are similar to their cousin, Shishito peppers, an East Asian variety. Shishito’s are also somewhat mild, and just a tad thinner in size. Either one is great for skewering with the shrimp.

Make the Compound Butter and Roasted Pepper Salsa ahead of time for a quick dinner.

I love this recipe and serve it for friends, or a special weeknight meal at home. Such color appeal, and light on the waistline… gluten-free too!

Roasted Pepper Salsa for topping the skewers. Credit: Karen Sheer

Roasted Pepper Salsa for topping the skewers. Credit: Karen Sheer

Spiked Ancho Chile Compound Butter adds Mexican flavors. Credit: Karen Sheer

Spiked Ancho Chile Compound Butter adds Mexican flavors. Credit: Karen Sheer

Recipe: Grilled Shrimp Skewers with Padrón Peppers ~ Ancho Chile Spiked Compound Butter


  • 24 large shrimp, peeled and deveined, tail left on (about 2 pounds)
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon salt & pepper
  • 16 padrón peppers, cleaned
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, organic, room temperature
  • ½ large ancho chile, soaked in boiling water, 2 T. when chopped
  • ½ teaspoon jalapeño, minced
  • 1 teaspoon red onion, peeled and minced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh garlic, peeled and minced
  • ½ teaspoon lime rind, finely grated
  •  teaspoon sea salt
  • lime wedges, for garnish


    Soak 8, 10″ wooden skewers in water for 1 hour, so they will not burn.
    Make Compound Butter and Roasted Pepper Salsa (can make in advance.)

    Shrimp Skewers:
    Add shrimp to a bowl to fit, add smoked paprika, cumin, salt & pepper and mix in to coat.
    Make Skewers: Place one shrimp through the skewer followed by a pardon pepper, shrimp, pardon pepper and shrimp. Continue making 8 skewers, place them on a tray.

    Heat an outdoor grill, or indoor grill pan to medium-high heat.
    Using 1/4 of the compound butter, cut it into bits and mix into the shrimp skewers.
    Brush grill with some neutral oil, grill skewers until dark and blackened on the first side, about 3 minutes. The butter will help to caramelize.

    Turn over with tongs, and cook in the second side until the peppers are charred, and the shrimp is firm and cooked through, about 3 minutes more. Remove to a platter.

    Top with extra thin slices of Compound Butter (it will melt into the warm shrimp and form a sauce), and some Roasted Pepper Salsa.

    Garnish with lime slices and fresh herbs- parsley, cilantro and oregano.

    Compound Butter:
    In a small bowl, cream the butter with a fork.
    Drain the ancho chile from the water and mince with a knife, and mash into a puree. Add the puree to the butter with the jalapeño, red onion, garlic, lime rind and salt. Mix well with the fork, creaming the mixture until all incorporated.

    Cut a 8″ piece of waxed paper, add the butter to the center. Pat down and roll into a cylinder. Twist the ends and freeze for 30 minutes, then refrigerate until needed.Recipe:

     Makes 8 Skewers, Serves: 4 – 6

 Recipe: Roasted Pepper Salsa


  • ½ cup roasted peppers – all colors, roasted, or blistered-grilled, medium chop
  • ¼ cup ripe tomatoes, medium chop
  • 1 teaspoon fresh jalapeño, or spicier serrano chiles, minced
  • tablespoon fresh parsley, or cilantro, chopped
  • ½ teaspoon lime juice
  •  teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 pinch fresh cracked black pepper
  • 1 pinch natural cane sugar


    Mix all ingredients together. Let stand to blend the flavors.
    Refrigerate in an airtight glass container, bring to room temperature when using.
    Makes: 3/4 cup

    These recipe may not be produced without the consent of its author, Karen Sheer.

    Karen SheerKaren Sheer lives and cooks in Greenwich. She is a professional chef, writer, caterer, photographer and food consultant specializing in original recipes. Her blog is “A Zest For Life”– Karen’s Obsession with Food and Style. Each recipe is inventive, original and well tested. Karen’s recipes are written to give you the feeling she is in the kitchen with you coaching step by step. Health and wellness are her passions. Karen’s recipes promote fresh, local ingredients which lead to a healthier lifestyle!


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