Shrimp Caramelized With Chardonnay Sauce

     First of all, are prawns and shrimp one and the same? Although they have a similar appearance, they are not. We can talk about membership in different crustacean families, but the main difference is their habitat:

  • “Shrimp come from both fresh and salt water and can live in both cold and warm waters; if they come from cold waters, then they will be smaller in size. There are more saltwater than freshwater species.
  • Prawns come from fresh water, and are much larger and meatier, like a langoustine. Their meat is much sweeter than those of shrimp. Prawns also have bigger pincers and longer legs.” – Kathryn Hill Kitchen

     While the two can usually be used interchangeably, my focus will be on shrimp for this recipe. I’d recommend fresh if you can get them. I think they taste better than the cooked tail-on variety, and it is well worth the effort to peel off the shells and remove the black vein.

     One of my favorite ways to eat them is to heat a little oil in a hot skillet. Add the shrimp, some salt and pepper, and sear them until they are caramelized and have changed color. Mix in some butter and chopped parsley at the end, and the sweet and succulent shrimp will pop with flavor when you bite into them.

     If you want to refine your presentation, arrange them in patterns on each plate and drizzle some sauce over the top.  Pour the rest in small individual bowls for each of your guests to use as a dipping sauce.

     The sauce can be made ahead of time and then reheated when you need it.  The ingredients really come together nicely with a unique taste I think you’ll love.


Shrimp have high levels of omega-3 fatty acid, calcium, iodine, protein, and low levels of mercury. Although they are a significant source of cholesterol, eating shrimp is still considered healthy by improving the LDL/HDL ratio and lowering triglycerides.

Shrimp Caramelized With Chardonnay Sauce

yields: 4 Servings prep time: 20 Minutes cook time: 60 Minutes
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1 tsp 1/2 cup 1/2 cup 2 cloves 1 Tbsp 1/2 cup 2 cups 2 sprigs Zest 2 Tbsp To taste 2 Tbsp 2 lbs. 2 Tbsp 2 Tbsp
Canola oil Onion sweet such as a Vidalia Fennel bulb diced reserving green fronds for garnish Garlic chopped Tomato paste Wine Chardonnay Clam juice bottled Thyme Orange small Butter Salt and pepper Canola oil Shrimp (fresh, peeled and deveined) Butter Italian parsley chopped
  • 1 tsp
    Canola oil
  • 1/2 cup
    Onion sweet such as a Vidalia
  • 1/2 cup
    Fennel bulb diced reserving green fronds for garnish
  • 2 cloves
    Garlic chopped
  • 1 Tbsp
    Tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup
    Wine Chardonnay
  • 2 cups
    Clam juice bottled
  • 2 sprigs
  • Zest
    Orange small
  • 2 Tbsp
  • To taste
    Salt and pepper
  • 2 Tbsp
    Canola oil
  • 2 lbs.
    Shrimp (fresh, peeled and deveined)
  • 2 Tbsp
  • 2 Tbsp
    Italian parsley chopped


Enter Target Time _______________

Mise en place: Onion+ fennel,+garlic, tomato paste, chardonnay, stock+thyme+zest, 2 Tbsp butter X 2, parsley.

Time: __________ (80 minutes prior to target time)

  1. Heat oil in 3-quart saucepan over medium heat.

  2. Add onion, fennel, and garlic. Cook for 5-7 minutes until translucent.

  3. Add tomato paste and cook for another 5 minutes.

  4. Add wine and reduce by three quarters.

  5. Add clam juice, thyme, and orange zest. Bring to low boil, and reduce by half (at least).

  6. Strain sauce through fine mesh strainer into 2-quart saucepan over low heat. Discard solids.

  7. Add 2 Tbsp butter. Stir to emulsify. Add a bit of flour to slightly thicken if it appears thin. Be careful not to overdo this, as it will thicken as it cools.

  8. Salt and pepper to taste. Keep warm on stove.

  9. Heat 2 Tbsp oil in sauté pan over med-high heat. Add shrimp. Season with salt and pepper.

  10. Sear on both sides until lightly carmelized and cooked through (1½ minutes per side)

  11. Add remaining butter and the parsley, stir to coat the shrimp. Remove from heat.

Divide shrimp among four warmed plates and arrange the shrimp into an attractive design. Pour some sauce over shrimp. Pour the rest of the sauce into small individual bowls for dipping. Garnish with fennel fronds.

Serve immediately with toasted bread to sop up broth.
Note: This is good with bok choy or BBQ’d hearts of romaine. A nice wine that pairs well is a Puligny Montrachet.


The recipe appeared in Saveur, March 31, 2012:

Marvesta Prawns With Chardonnay

Chef Jose Garces, JG Domestic, Philadelphia

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