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Smoked Paprika Shrimp with Macadamia Cracker and Watercress

This dish has a somewhat strange origin. It's actually rooted in my mini-cheesecake recipe, believe it or not!

I had just made a crust with raw macadamia nuts. When I was packing them into the muffin tins, they formed such a compact layer, that I experimented by pushing some of the same crust into a cookie cutter shape, on parchment paper and baked it. The end result was a beautiful and delicious little cracker, in a perfect circle! Granted, it's VERY fragile, but it holds its shape well enough to be kind of a fun way to play with nuts.

Because I knew Valentine's Day was right around the corner, this seemed like a good place to use the idea. I pushed the macadamia nuts into heart shaped cookie cutters and baked them. They unmolded beautifully! Then, I knew I wanted shrimp. Two little shrimp, twisted and tangled together, where you can't tell which one is which is a nice romantic image, especially when they're leaning on a heart shaped cracker. Then, I thought about the watercress. This has a little heat to it, which translates to a little tickle of the tongue. I like a little added oral sensation when romance is on the mind! The aioli came about to just add a little more creamy fat to the dish and the smoked paprika? Well, the cracker made me think of chips and smoked paprika always makes me think of BBQ flavored chips. I like chips. Seemed like a fun one to throw at the dish.

Not a perfect or totally coherent string of thoughts, but the end result was lovely and quite delicious!
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time1 hr
Servings: 6 Servings
Calories: 569.91333333333kcal
Author: DJ Foodie


Macadamia Cracker

Watercress Aioli

  • 3 cups watercress
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 each garlic cloves
  • salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste

Smoked Paprika Shrimp

  • 1 1/2 lb shrimp (16/20) peeled and deveined
  • 1/4 cup light olive oil
  • 1 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice freshly squeezed
  • salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste


  • Pre-heat oven to 325 F.
  • If your macadamia nuts are not crushed, place them in a large plastic (ZipLoc style) bag. With a mallet or the edge of a pot or pan, whack at them until you have a squooshed bag of macadamia explosion.
  • Pour your crushed macadamias into a mixing bowl and add your brown sugar equivalent (if you don't have this, you can omit it, or use a nice molasses. It helps to hold the crust together), and melted butter. Mix the ingredients until the macadamias are well coated with the sugar and butter.
  • Grease the inside of 6 heart shaped metal cookie cutters.
  • Place the cookie cutters onto a parchment covered cookie tray.
  • Use the back of a spoon (or a tamper, if you have one) to press the crusts firmly into the base of the cups. This must be FIRM. Compact these very strongly, to make a solid shape (ESPECIALLY if you omit the molasses or brown sugar).
  • Bake the crusts for 12 minutes, or until golden brown.
  • Remove and set aside to cool.
  • Place a pot of water on the stove to boil. Salt the water.
  • Get a bowl full of ice water and set it aside.
  • Plunge most of your watercress into the boiling salted water. Boil for about 30 seconds, or until the watercress has cooked.
  • Immediately strain it and plunge it into the ice water, where it needs to chill down.
  • Once the watercress has completely chilled, remove it from the ice water and squeeze it into a little ball, squeezing out all the excess ice water. The end result should be a fairly dry lump compressed cooked watercress.
  • Add this lump to a food processor with your mayo and garlic. Puree for about 2 minutes. If this mixture is too thick, you can add a small amount of water, vinegar or lemon juice to thin it out. Add very small amounts, like 1/4 tsp to adjust. This should result in a slightly peppery, very green and lovely watercress aioli. Set aside.
  • In a small mixing bowl, combine your smoked paprika, lemon juice and oil.
  • Add your shrimp to the oil and season with salt and pepper.
  • Pre-heat a large sauté pan. Saute your shrimp, oil and all, until the shrimp are cooked through (but not rubbery). About 4 minutes.
  • Remove the shrimp and set on a plate to briefly cool. Save the oil in the pan.
  • On 6 plates, place a dollop of the watercress aioli. Also, place a few sprigs of watercress.
  • Place your macadamia crackers on top of the watercress.
  • Quickly intertwine shrimp couple and place a pair on each plate.
  • Drizzle a little of the remaining shrimp/smoked paprika oil from the sauté pan over the shrimp.
  • Serve!


Serving: 6g | Calories: 569.91333333333kcal | Carbohydrates: 7.5766666666667g | Protein: 25.928333333333g | Fat: 50.468333333333g | Fiber: 3.0366666666667g