This Italian Fusion Chili Lime Shrimp Recipe is a little different from other chili lime shrimp recipes you might be used to. In fact, its delicious garlicky chili lime pan sauce makes it more similar to Italian shrimp scampi or Spanish gambas al ajillo. You may be shocked to find out that there's actually no chili powder in this recipe. Only spicy crushed Calabrian chili peppers for really good spicy kick. And it takes just 15 minutes to make! (20 including prep time)
I find myself making shrimp with various simple pan sauces as weeknight meals all year long because this type of recipe maximizes taste while minimizing effort. The shrimp cook quickly, then you deglaze the pan, and that's it.
And I find this recipe so comforting whether it's summer or winter. The flavors of chili and lime are certainly great in the summer. Plus it cooks in just 15 minutes, so you won't have a problem turning the stove on even when it's hot out... But it's also warm and comforting, perfect in the winter over a bowl of fluffy rice or toasted crusty bread.
For more ways to use Calabrian chili peppers, check out my other blog post:
9 Calabrian Chili Pepper Recipes
How to make Scampi-Style Chili Lime Shrimp
This is SUCH an easy recipe. The entire process is incredibly simple and calls for just 10 ingredients including salt, pepper, olive oil, and butter.
The technique was inspired by this Shrimp Scampi recipe from Bon Appetit. But you'll notice there's much less butter in my recipe. It's easier to keep it from breaking this way, and it doesn't affect the taste much at all.
- Extra large shrimp (20 per pound; deveined; tail-on raw shrimp; if using frozen, make sure to defrost completely before cooking. see "top tips" below for info on defrosting shrimp)
- Fresh garlic cloves (You won't find garlic powder or onion powder in any of my recipes. I have a real distaste for them as they remind me of Domino's Pizza)
- Crushed or diced Calabrian chili peppers from Yummy Bazaar (10% off your first oder with this link)
- Dry Oregano
- Kosher Salt
- Black pepper
- 1 lime (juice and zest)
- Dry Vermouth (you can use white wine if you don't keep vermouth on hand)
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Fresh cilantro or parsley
See recipe card for exact quantities
Step 1: In a medium bowl toss the shrimp in a simple marinade of Calabrian chili peppers, grated garlic, lime zest, oregano, salt, and pepper. You can add a sprinkle of chili powder if you want a speck of tradition, but the recipe doesn't call for it. This easy shrimp recipe only needs to marinade for about 5 minutes.
Step 2: Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet or 3 quart sauté pan such as this All-Clad one, which is my all time favorite. Once hot, place the marinated shrimp in the pan in an even layer and cook them for about 2 minutes per side, depending on the size of your shrimp. Make sure you don't overcook them!
Step 3: Remove the shrimp from the pan and into a bowl, but leave the oil and stuck-on brown bits behind. Deglaze the pan with the fresh lime juice and dry vermouth. Then, reduce heat to a simmer and stir in the butter.
Step 4: Add the shrimp pack to the pan, along with freshly chopped parsley or cilantro, and toss to coat. If at any point the pan sauce breaks, or appears oily, just add a splash of water while still on the heat. That should bind it back together.
Step 5: Serve with fresh toasted bread, rice, or cous cous and enjoy!
- The best way to defrost frozen shrimp is to leave them in their bag in the refrigerator for 24 hours. But to defrost shrimp in a hurry, place the shrimp in a colander in the sink and run them under cool water until defrosted. Then pat them dry with paper towels
- I also like to rinse fresh shrimp very quickly with cold water just to remove any pieces of shell that may have stuck to the shrimp. Again, make sure to pat them dry with paper towels before marinating them. Dry shrimp brown. Wet shrimp steam.
- You may think you don't need to add butter to the sauce if it already tastes good. But the truth is that adding butter creates a true pan sauce that's glossy and saucy. It also helps neutralize the acidity of the lime and vermouth. Don't skip it!
- For perfectly tender shrimp, DO NOT OVERCOOK THEM. They only take 2-3 minutes per side. You can cut into one to make sure it's cooked through. If it's opaque through the center, and no longer blueish, it's done.
You can use the same techniques to modify the recipe into something different.
- Chili Lime Shrimp PASTA: After the chili lime shrimp is done cooking, you can turn it into a pasta dish by adding ½ pound of cooked spaghetti or fettuccine along with a splash of pasta water. The only difference is you may want to de-tailed the shrimp if you plan on making it a pasta dish. Doing so will just make it easier to eat, without having to remove shrimp tails while eating pasta.
- Chili Lime Scallops: This recipe also works perfectly well with scallops! It's the same exact process.
- Extra Spicy Chili Lime Shrimp: Add a ¼ teaspoon of cayenne or red pepper flakes to the marinade. Or add a dash of your favorite hot sauce when you add the lime juice and vermouth.
What to do with Leftover Chili Lime Shrimp
- Simply place the leftover shrimp in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Reheat leftovers either:
- In the microwave for 30 seconds at a time OR
- In a small sauté pan with a splash of water. This method keeps the shrimp tasting fresher than microwaving.
Italian Inspired Chili lime Shrimp RecipePrint
Chili Lime Shrimp (Italian Fusion)
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Cook Time: 15 minutes
- Total Time: 20 minutes
- Yield: 2 as a main 1x
- Category: Seafood
- Method: pan sauce
- Cuisine: Italian, spanish, Mexican, fusion
Calabrian Chili Lime Shrimp is a Mexican-Spanish-Italian fusion recipe with a perfect balance of spice and lime, and a delicious pan sauce.
- 1 pound of extra large shrimp; raw, deveined, tail-on, and defrosted if frozen
- 2 fresh garlic cloves
- 1 tablespoon of Calabrian chili peppers
- ½ teaspoon of dry oregano
- ½ teaspoon of Kosher Salt
- ½ teaspoon of fresh black pepper
- 1 lime (juice and zest)
- ¼ cup of dry vermouth (or white wine)
- 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons of butter
- ¼ cup of chopped cilantro (or parsley)
- Place the raw shrimp in a medium bowl and grate in the garlic, then add the Calabrian chilis, oregano, salt, and pepper. Toss to coat and let stand for 5 minutes.
- Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Place the shrimp in the skillet in an even layer. Then flip after 2 minutes. Cook the shrimp for 2 minutes on the second side as well. Burnt-on bits or fond should be forming on the bottom of the pan... That's a good thing!
- Remove shrimp from pan and into a bowl. Turn the heat to medium-low and deglaze the fond in pan with the lime juice and vermouth. Use a spatula to help you scrape up all those bits. Simmer and reduce by about half. (This will only take minute or 2)
- Stir in the butter. If at any point the sauce gets too thick or if it appears oily/broken, add a splash of water.
- Add the shrimp back and toss to coat in the delicious pan sauce. Top with fresh cilantro or parsley and serve.
Keywords: chili lime shrimp, chili lime shrimp recipe
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