By Taylor Kadlec
I’ve always been a fan of shrimp scampi, which is an impressive dish made up of yet very basic ingredients. Typically it is simply a combination of shrimp, butter (YES!), garlic, lemon, and parsley along with a long stranded pasta like spaghetti or linguine noodles. I took the flavor from this stunning dish, nixed the pasta, and turned it into one delicious appetizer.
Before we get to the food, let’s talk about the wine! First of all the basics. Rioja wine comes from the Rioja region in Spain, which is spains most popular region for wine producing. Unlike winemakers from other regions, Rioja wine makers age their wine in their cellars, and let the wine take their time aging, only releasing when it is ready to drink.
Another great thing about Rioja wines is that they are really easy to pair with food. From meats and veggies to cheese and bread, you can pretty much find a wine to go with any cuisine. This is great when you are eating tapas (fancy word for appetizers) because you can pair one wine with multiple dishes, meaning you don’t have to have 5 bottles of wine open at a time. Although there’s nothing wrong with that. Just sayin. Since I am all about the white wine during the warm summer months, I chose a light, dry, and mildly fruity wine named Marques de Caceres to pair with the shrimp tapa I was preparing to make.
Finally, one of the best things about Rioja wines is their affordability. When shopping for my Rioja wines I really didn’t see any over $15 and mine was a bargain at $9.99, which makes them great for every day sipping but also terrific for special occasions.
The combination of lemon, parsley, and garlic from the shrimp paired perfectly with the crisp and light blanco Rioja wine. We stayed true to the tapa theme and ate this as a light precursor to dinner, but I was secretly wishing I had a big chunk of bread to sop up the extra butter and garlic and call it dinner in itself.
- 2 lbs medium shrimp
- 3 tbsp olive oil (or butter, melted)
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- zest of one lemon
- ¼ tsp crushed red pepper
- ½ tsp salt
- juice of one lemon
- ¼ cup chopped parsley
- In large bowl, combine shrimp, 2 tablespoons of olive oil or melted butter, garlic, lemon zest, crushed red pepper, and salt.
- Let marinate for 2 hours, up to overnight.
- In large skillet, add remaining tablespoon of olive oil or butter over medium-high heat.
- Once hot, add shrimp.
- Cook 3-4 minutes on each side, until shrimp is white and no longer translucent.
- Once cooked, remove from heat.
- Top with fresh squeeze of lemon juice and fresh parsley.