A quick and easy meal is always en vogue and this Sauteed Shrimp and Basil gets on the table in a blink of an eye. The shrimp marinate for 10 minutes and only cook about a minute on each side! If you buy peeled and deveined shrimp, it's that much faster!
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How to prepare the shrimp
You can purchase frozen shrimp, of course, but if you can get fresh, wild shrimp, take that option! Pull the tail off, then put your thumb between the legs and pull off the rest of the shell. Use a small paring knife to cut down the back of the shrimp. put the tip of the knife under the vein, and pull it out. This is not the most pleasant part of preparing shrimp, but it is highly necessary!
The ingredients for the Sauteed Shrimp and Basil marinade are few and simple.
A little fish sauce, a little oil, some sugar, a little salt, plenty of garlic, and some spicy peppers (jalapenos, serrano, fresno) ... and that's it. Mix it together and stir the shrimp in, making sure to coat them all very well. The photo shows three red jalapenos, but rest assure that you can adjust it according to what you can handle.
Truth is, I only used ONE! You do you. I can stand it being spicier and sometimes add more pepper depending on who I'm feeding.
Are you wondering what fish sauce is?
Fish sauce is made from a mixture of fish (often anchovies, but sometimes mackerel or shrimp ... an oily fish) and salt that is allowed to ferment for up to two years. It is a staple ingredient in many Asian dishes and lends a beautiful umami, that certain je ne sais quoi. My favorite brand is Red Boat as it is gluten-free, has no preservatives (who needs them especially with a fermented, salted product?!), and has no MSG.
Mix all the ingredients, then toss the shrimp with the marinade and allow it to sit for 10 minutes.
Use a large skillet over medium-high heat or work in batches in a smaller one. You don't want to crowd the skillet because you'll have less of a chance of getting that delicious char.
The shrimp will literally only take about 1 minute on each side. I turn them to the second side when I start seeing the pink come up the edges of each shrimp.
Turn the heat off, remove the shrimp immediately to a platter, then put all the basil leaves into the skillet. Make sure they are dry so that you don't create oil splatters with any water left on them! Just let them wilt and add them to the platter with the shrimp.
How to serve Sauteed Shrimp & Basil
I like it with rice, of course, and always with lime juice! And that's all you need, right?
They also work brilliantly as an appetizer or hors d'oeuvre. Thread them onto sticks with basil leaves and grill them!
Other recipes you might like:
Sauteed Shrimp & Basil
- 1 red jalapeno pepper chopped small
- 6 cloves garlic chopped small
- ¼ cup sugar
- 2 Tablespoons fish sauce I like the Red Boat brand, but see the Notes for a substitution.
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 4 Tablespoons avocado oil
- 1 pound large shrimp peeled and deveined
- 2 cups fresh basil leaves
- lime wedges for serving
- Combine the chiles, garlic, sugar, fish sauce, salt, and 3 Tablespoons of oil in a bowl. Add the shrimp and stir to coat each shrimp well. Let marinate for 10 minutes.
- Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the remaining tablespoon of oil. Work in batches, if needed, to avoid crowding the pan. Cook the shrimp until deeply browned around the edges and the flesh is just opaque, about a minute per side. Remove the shrimp to a platter, turn off the heat, and add all of the basil. Toss until the basil is wilted., then add it to the platter with the shrimp.
- Transfer the shrimp and basil to dinner plates with rice and lime wedges.