Lemony Shrimp Over Zucchini

Yes; another shrimp dish. But during these times, they’re the only fresh seafood that’s readily available to us. Moreover, they’re a steal at $5.99/pound; easy to prepare for a weeknight; and utterly delicious.

Some zucchini in the fridge from our local farmers market brought to mind a recipe from Lidia’s Celebrate Like an Italian that I had come across a few weeks ago. Like many of the recipes in this book, this one yields enough food to serve 6 to 8. Therefore, since I was cooking only for two, I cut down on some, but not all, of the ingredients. For example, rather than cooking two pounds of shrimp, I used one and similarly reduced the number of zucchini from four to two.

However, for some of the other ingredients, especially those for sautéing the zucchini and the shrimp (oil and seasonings) and for preparing the sauce (wine and butter) I used my eye. Indeed, I believe it’s important to keep in mind that halving a recipe doesn’t work like a mathematical formula. For example, the amount of oil for sautéing the zucchini is determined as much by the size of the pan as it is by the number of zucchini. So rather than reducing these ingredients by half, I use approximately two-thirds of the amount called for. The same applies to seasoning, which I determine by taste and personal preference; sometimes even increasing the original amount as I did with the red-pepper flakes.

What I especially liked about this recipe was how quickly it comes together after doing the prep work. In fact, the only labor-intensive task was, at least for me, cutting the zucchini into uniform matchsticks.

With the cooking done, we sat down to a wonderful meal. The shrimp, spicy and garlicky, were cooked to perfection, napped in a velvety, buttery sauce; the zucchini, tender with just a bit of crunch and a hint of oregano, served as the perfect foil to the shrimp in both flavor and texture.

Lemony Shrimp Over Zucchini (adapted from Lidia’s Celebrate Like an Italian by Lidia Bastianich)


3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 medium zucchini (approx. 20 oz), cut into 1 ½”-by -¼”-thick matchsticks
½ teaspoon kosher salt
⅛ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, or to taste
¼ teaspoon dried oregano, or to taste

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 pounds extra-large shrimp, peeled and deveined or EZ-peel shrimp with shells on, which I prefer since the shells add so much flavor
1 teaspoon kosher salt
6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
3 tablespoons unsalted butter cut into bits
1 cup dry white wine
Grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
3 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
2 to 3 tablespoons dry bread crumbs


1. For the zucchini, add the olive oil to a large skillet over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, scatter the zucchini. Season with salt and red pepper flakes.

Zucchini and seasoning

2. Cook until the zucchini begins to wilt but still has a little bite, about 4 minutes.

After 4 minutes

3. Sprinkle with the dried oregano, remove from the heat, and keep warm.

Adding oregano

4. For the shrimp, add the olive oil to another large skillet over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add half of the shrimp and season with half of the salt. Sear quickly on both sides, about 1 minute, and remove to a plate. Repeat with remaining shrimp and salt.

Starting the shrimp
Turning the shrimp
Shrimp are done
Removed to bowl

5. When all of the shrimp is out of the skillet, add the garlic and butter to the oil remaining in the pan, and cook until sizzling, about 2 minutes.

Adding butter & garlic

6. Add the white wine, lemon zest, and lemon juice and bring to a boil. Add the shrimp back to the sauce, sprinkle with the parsley, and toss.

Wine added
Wine brought to a boil
Shrimp returned to the pan
Adding parsely

7. Sprinkle with the bread crumbs and return to a boil to thicken the sauce.

Adding breadcrumbs
Shrimp in thickened sauce

8. Serve the shrimp over the zucchini.

Plated shrimp

Wine Pairing: Soave, Pinot Grigio


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