Adriatic Grilled Shrimps
(Gamberetti dell’Adriatico)

From The Italian Country Table, by Lynne Rossetto Kasper

Serves 4 to 5

Big, plump shrimp are rolled in chopped bits of garlic, parsley and sun-dried tomato, then pan-grilled. On festival and market days, in food stands lining the wharves of fishing villages along the Adriatic, shrimp prepared this way sizzle on hot iron griddles over wood fires. Years ago, a fisherman’s wife told me she made her shrimp plumper and juicier by soaking them in seawater ­ her version of brining. Soaking in salted water does the same thing. You could skip the first step of this recipe, but I urge you not to. It takes only 20 minutes ­ enough time to gather and prepare the other ingredients ­ and the shrimp really taste better.

  • 1 1/2 pounds jumbo shrimp (8 to 10 per pound), shelled and deveined, with tails left intact
  • 2 tablespoons salt, plus more to taste
  • 4 cups ice water
  • 3 to 4 sun-dried tomatoes (not packed in oil), plumped 10 minutes in hot water and drained
  • 3 large cloves garlic
  • 3 tightly packed tablespoons fresh Italian parsley leaves
  • 1/8 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 large lemon, cut into 8 wedges

1. In a bowl, combine the shrimp with the 2 tablespoons salt and the ice water. Refrigerate 20 minutes, but no more. Meanwhile, mince together the tomatoes, garlic, and parsley. Turn into a medium bowl and stir in the hot pepper and 2 tablespoons of the olive oil.

2. Drain, rinse, and pat the shrimp dry. Toss them with the tomato mixture. Keep cold.

3. Film a large skillet or griddle with the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil and heat over medium heat. Saute the shrimp, sprinkling with salt and pepper, about 2 to 3 minutes per side, or until pink and just firm. Pile all the seasonings atop the shrimps after you turn them.

4. Turn the shrimp onto a serving platter, along with the seasonings. Serve hot or warm, with the lemon wedges. Squeeze a little lemon over the shrimp just before eating.

Wine Suggestion: a full, crisp Anselmi Soave Capitel Foscarino