Succulent shrimp, savory prosciutto, and of course that pool of garlicky white wine sauce begging for dipping make Prosciutto Wrapped Shrimp Scampi the ultimate appetizer. Just pop open a bottle of white wine and say cheers to the weekend because these plump shrimps will have you double dipping.
If I had to pick a favorite seafood dish, scampi would top the list. With just a handful of ingredients, the bright flavors are the perfect counterpoint to sweet seafood. It doesn’t matter if it’s a creamy and dreamy Shrimp Scampi Dip or this twist on the classic, there’s just something magic that happens when garlic, lemon, and wine come together.
Why You’ll Adore This Recipe
- Easy Process – Not only is this shrimp scampi recipe incredibly fast cooking, it only has a couple of steps. The most labor intensive portion is simply chopping your aromatics and wrapping the shrimp.
- Familiar Flavors – If you love a classic shrimp scampi, you will love this dish. All of the traditional components are there with the added bonus of completely irresistible prosciutto. The prosciutto wrapped shrimp alone are delicious.
- Accessible Ingredients – Seafood in general can be a luxury item but shrimp are among the easiest to find regardless of where you will live.
Tips on Ingredients
- With only a handful of ingredients, make sure to pick quality ingredients. For the shrimp you will want larger shrimp. I used 16-20 count colossal. That makes them easy to wrap and allows the prosciutto to crisp up without overcooking the shrimp. No one wants rubbery shrimp! Always know the source of your shrimp. These were sustainably harvested and certified organic black tiger shrimp from LobsterAnywhere. When you buy shrimp from the seafood counter at your grocery store it most likely was previously frozen and defrosted. You don’t know how long it’s been sitting there. Always look for shrimp that is free of preservatives and chemicals.
- Pick a wine that you like. Keep in mind that as the wine cooks down, the flavors will intensify. You don’t need anything fancy here, but you still want it to have great flavor. Also, please no cooking wine.
- If you are getting your prosciutto from the deli, make sure that it’s sliced as thinly as possible. Make sure to have them include deli paper between each slice. You can also find packaged prosciutto di Parma and prosciutto di San Daniele. Prosciutto di Parma is saltier and nuttier while prosciutto di San Daniele is darker and sweeter. They’re both from northern Italy.
- If you’re making this on the grill, char your lemons. Not only will it make for a juicier lemon, but you will get that additional layer of flavor.
How to Make Prosciutto Wrapped Shrimp Scampi
Making shrimp scampi at home is not only easy but puts you in total control of the quality of ingredients and the final dish. Like things spicy? It only requires a few simple steps and a little finesse and love.
- Prep your shrimp. If they are frozen, allow them to defrost in the refrigerator overnight. Peel and wash them and then thoroughly dry them. Add them to a bowl with olive oil, grated garlic, lemon zest, fresh parsley, and crushed red pepper flakes. You can let them marinate for 30 minutes up to a couple of hours. Because there is no acid in the marinade it’s not going to change the texture of the shrimp and begin to cook it.
- Wrap your shrimp. Prosciutto is delicate when it’s sliced thin so use your deli paper if you can. Depending on the size of your shrimp, you can slice each piece of prosciutto into 3-4 strips. Lightly pat the shrimp dry and then wrap a strip around the middle. Again, there is no need to wrap the entire shrimp. Place it seam side down on a plate and proceed with the rest. This step can be done earlier in the day and the shrimp actually benefit from being refrigerated as it allows the prosciutto to adhere even more to the shrimp and conform to the shape.
- Mise en Place. The actual cooking of the shrimp scampi goes fast. Go ahead and chop your shallot and parsley and thinly slice your garlic. I like to cube up my butter and freeze it at this point until I’m ready for it.
- Heat up your skillet. If you are making this recipe on the grill heat your cast iron skillet over direct heat. You want your grill at around 400 degrees. For both charcoal cooking I like to make a two zone set up so I can move my pan to indirect if it gets too hot, and I also add my butter when it’s not on direct heat. If you’re making this on the stove heat your skillet to medium.
- Sear the shrimp. Once your olive oil is hot add your shrimp. You want to crisp up the prosciutto while cooking the shrimp so make sure not to over crowd your pan. It’s better to cook them in batches than steam them by crowding them. Let the first side cook for two minutes before flipping them. Depending on the size of your shrimp the second side will cook for another 2-3 minutes. Your shrimp will turn pinkish-orange and become white and opaque while the tail will brighten. They will curve into a C shape and their internal temperature should be a little under 120 degrees. Remove them from the pan.
- Warm your aromatics. Add the remaining olive oil and then add your shallots and garlic. Stir them for thirty seconds to a minute until they are deeply aromatic. You aren’t looking to add any color to them, just wake up their oils. Season with salt and add your crushed red pepper flakes.
- Simmer the wine. Add your wine and stir to scrape up any bits the shrimp may have left behind. Allow it to come to a simmer and let it reduce by half. This should take 8-10 minutes.
- Flavor it up. Add the parsley, lemon juice, and Worcestershire sauce. Give it a stir.
- Butter makes everything better. This step is important. Move your pan to indirect heat, or turn your burner off. Add a few cubes of butter at a time while continuously stirring. This will allow the butter to emulsify into the wine sauce.
- All into the pan. Taste the sauce. Add any additional salt if needed. Remember that the prosciutto will add salt to both the shrimp and sauce as it sits. Add the shrimp back into the pan, nestling them into the sauce.
- Finishing touch. Make sure to serve your prosciutto wrapped shrimp scampi with crusty bread and extra lemon.
- White Wine – The majority of the alcohol burns off in this recipe, leaving behind that light and bright flavor. If you don’t cook with wine, you can swap it out for either seafood stock or chicken broth. You will want to add additional lemon at the end to brighten the flavor.
- Prosciutto – Thinly sliced pancetta is a great option if you don’t have prosciutto along with serrano ham. I wouldn’t recommend bacon as the smoky flavor will overtake the rest of the ingredients. If you don’t eat pork or want to make this strictly a pescatarian recipe, skip the prosciutto completely. You will still want to marinate your shrimp and cook them separately from the sauce.
Tips from the Beach
- You don’t need to wrap the entire shrimp in prosciutto. You still want the sweetness of the shrimp to shine through. You just need a little strip per shrimp. Each slice of prosciutto should wrap 3-4 shrimps.
- Don’t crowd the pan. If the shrimp are too close to each other they will steam instead of searing and crisping up the prosciutto.
- Make sure your butter is cold. Don’t take your butter out until you need it. You can even freeze it half an hour to an hour in advance which helps keep it chilled if you plan on cooking these on the grill where it can get hot.
- Taste your sauce before adding any additional sauce. This shrimp scampi recipe doesn’t call for any salt for the shrimp itself and only has a little in the sauce. But it does have both prosciutto and Worcestershire sauce which add their own layer of saltiness.
- How you slice your garlic matters. you will want to finely grate the garlic for the shrimp, and thinly slice the garlic for the scampi sauce. Grated garlic has a bolder flavor and will perfume all of the shrimp while sliced garlic has that balance of the sharp garlic bite with a little sweetness.
For more scampi recipes make sure to check out Caribbean Shrimp Scampi.
How do I know that my shrimp are done?
The easiest way to make sure your shrimp are fully cooked is to check their internal temperature. Because of carry over cooking and also the continued cooking of going back into a warm sauce, you should pull them at 118 degrees, but not past 120. You can also tell by their color and shape. The will curve slightly into a C shape. If they form an O they’re over cooked. They will turn pinkish orange, the flesh will become white and opaque, and the tails will brighten in color.
Do I have to use wine for shrimp scampi?
No. While most of the alcohol does cook out and it gives a sunny, bright flavor, you can substitute the wine with either seafood stock or chicken broth. Add an additional squeeze of lemon for brightness.
Can I use bacon wrapped shrimp for this recipe?
I wouldn’t recommend using bacon. Not only will the texture be more soggy as the bacon won’t cook all the way through and crisp, but the smoky flavor will overpower the delicate sweetness of the shrimp and the sparkling flavor of the sauce.
Can I make the prosciutto wrapped shrimp ahead of time?
Yes! You can marinate and wrap the shrimp ahead of time. This will allow the flavors to permeate the shrimp and the prosciutto to adhere even more.