top of page
  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Love shrimp scampi? Try this rosé-infused twist.

Rosé shrimp. This zippy dish is still cooked in butter and wine, but feels like it spent the summer in Provence. Food styled by Barrett Washburne.

By Eric Kim

This rosé shrimp recipe eluded me for months.

As May, June and July bled into August, I found myself cooking iterations of my idea — pan-seared shrimp with rosé butter — so often that even my partner, a seafood obsessive, said enough was enough.

After much tinkering, I did eventually lure him back to the dinner table.

It turned out that blooming herbes de Provence — heady with dried herbs like rosemary, thyme and often lavender — in hot, shrimpy olive oil amplified the savoriness that crustaceans cooked in butter and wine tend to have (think of shrimp scampi). And the floral herbs made the rosé butter taste somehow even more of rosé, that crisp summer wine, another taste of Provence.

It was getting closer. And yet, it was still missing something.

One day, my friend Rebecca, a recipe developer herself who sometimes works for The New York Times (and often helps me gut-check my own recipes), suggested that I add some piment d’Espelette to match the dish’s French leanings.

“I feel like it’s totally underutilized,” she said about the fruity, moderately spiced pepper, named for a commune in France and prevalent in Basque cooking.

When it comes to the piment d’Espelette, which turbocharges the flavor and pinkish color of this shrimp, you don’t have to pluck it from a Basque field. You can easily find it online as well as in many supermarkets and specialty spice stores. And if you can’t? Gochugaru, Aleppo pepper and red-pepper flakes are all adequate substitutes.

Be sure not to skip the orange zest, though; it brings out the Provençal wine’s inherent fruitiness. This last addition was a gift from another friend and colleague, Melissa Clark.

For weeks, I had a draft of this recipe lingering on my Google Drive, but I just couldn’t bring myself to turn it in. It wasn’t ready yet. So I cooked it with Melissa in her Brooklyn kitchen: She tasted it, lingered for a moment and ran to her fridge to grab a lemon — then an orange. Zested over the shrimp, the bittersweet orange lent balance and made the buttery sauce taste all the better. Recalling the sunny rosé, it locked everything into place.

I love cooking because sometimes all it takes is a friend (or two) to help you finesse the details of a dish, to give rosy color to an idea.

Rosé shrimp

This zippy, pink shrimp dish captures the crisp and flowery flavors of rosé wine in just 20 minutes. A dusting of herbes de Provence, bloomed in hot, shrimpy olive oil, amplifies the savoriness that crustaceans cooked in butter and wine tend to provide, like that of shrimp scampi. Piment d’Espelette — the fruity, moderately spiced pepper named after a commune in France and prevalent in Basque cooking — turbocharges the color and flavor of the shrimp. This chile can be swapped in a pinch (see Tip), but don’t skip the orange zest; it brings out the wine’s inherent fruitiness. Serve this dish as an appetizer with crusty bread, or as an entrée with pasta or white rice, whatever can sop up the rosy pan juices.

Yield: 4 servings

Total time: 20 minutes


1 pound extra-large peeled and deveined shrimp

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon herbes de Provence

1/2 teaspoon piment d’Espelette (see Tip), plus more for garnish

1 1/2 cups dry rosé wine

1 tablespoon dark brown sugar

1/4 cup unsalted butter (1/2 stick)

Orange zest, for serving


1. On a plate, season the shrimp with salt and pepper and toss to coat. Heat a large skillet over medium-high and add the oil. Lay the shrimp down in a single layer and cook on the first side, undisturbed, until rosy around the edges, 1 to 2 minutes, then flip and continue cooking, about 30 seconds. Transfer to the plate. (The shrimp will still be gray in spots at this point, but it will continue to cook in the sauce later.)

2. Stir the herbes de Provence and piment d’Espelette into the hot, shrimpy oil until fragrant, just a few seconds. Add the rosé and brown sugar. Raise the heat to high to bring to a boil and cook, stirring occasionally, until glossy and reduced by three-quarters, about 10 minutes.

3. Off the heat, add the butter, stirring constantly until melted. Toss the shrimp in the hot, buttery sauce, then let sit until cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes. Taste and add more salt and pepper as needed. Top with freshly grated orange zest and a final sprinkle of piment d’Espelette. Serve immediately.

Tip: You can easily find piment d’Espelette, or Espelette pepper, online as well as in many supermarkets and specialty spice stores. Its sunny flavor is worth seeking out for this particular dish, but gochugaru, Aleppo pepper and red-pepper flakes, though different in taste, are all adequate substitutions.

29 views0 comments


bottom of page