When the age-old question of “what’s for dinner” comes about, and when you’re bored with the same meals over and over, I’ve got your answer. Shrimp Picatta.
Yep, we’re taking a little spin-off of the traditional Chicken Picatta and using shrimp in its place. Picatta technically means thin slices of meat dredged in flour and served with a lemon butter sauce. We’re making the lemon butter sauce with capers, but we’re not worrying about any dredging here, letting the shrimp shine on their own and save us some time overall.
Because we could all use a little extra time when making dinner, right?
You might even think of this recipe on the lines of shrimp scampi with capers. So if you’re a lover of shrimp and butter, you should definitely give it a try!
If you’ve never had picatta sauce before, it’s a bright butter sauce with a punch of acidity from lemon juice and white wine, with brininess from capers. If your tastebuds love brine and acid and brightness, this is the dish for you.
Here’s a run down of the other ingredients you’ll need to make the sauce, and well, obviously the shrimp that’s going in it.
- Shrimp – peeled and deveined shrimp make life easy. They can be tailless, too, to make life the easiest, but I personally like the tails on.
- Shallot – a sweet, mild member of the onion family, it creates a lovely base for the sauce.
- Garlic – can’t have a sauce without garlic.
- White Wine – the base of the sauce. In a pinch, you can substitute stock.
- Vegetable Stock – adds some volume to our sauce. You can also use seafood stock or chicken stock.
- Capers – a classic ingredient for picatta sauce, the brined capers are drained and added to the sauce for a briny punch.
- Lemon Juice & Zest – for the bright, acidic notes in the sauce. The zest brings it up another notch, and if we’re juicing a fresh lemon, why not zest it too? Also, please please use fresh lemon.
- Parsley – fresh parsley is a must-have garnish, it’s bright, with its own slightly lemon and peppery flavor notes that round it all out SO WELL.
Let’s Make It!
You’re really going to love how easy this is, and if you’re not serving it with pasta, it’s truly a one-pan wonder.
First, the aromatics (photos 1-2). Start by sautéing the shallot and garlic in olive oil, then add in the shrimp. By cooking them with the aromatics, the shrimp are going to absorb all those delicious flavors.
Cook the shrimp but not all the way through, because they will finish cooking in the sauce, and we definitely don’t want overcooked shrimp (photos 3-4). You can always cook the shrimp longer at the end, but there’s no going back if you’ve gone too far. Besides, cooking in the sauce helps them absorb more flavor, too.
Remove the shrimp, and set aside. Deglaze the skillet with white wine, scraping up any bits that are on the bottom of the pan. Hello, our flavorful sauce base.
Then, add in the lemon juice, lemon zest, and vegetable stock. Bring the sauce to a simmer to reduce slightly, and then add the capers (photo 5).
Once the sauce has reduced, and you’ve taste-tested it for salt levels (seriously, taste test what you’re cooking, please!), add the shrimp back in the sauce and simmer for a minute or two longer until cooked through.
Stir in butter and chopped parsley until the sauce is silky and smooth (photo 6).
Looking for more veggies? Add some spinach at the end of the cook time to wilt down.
What should I serve with the shrimp?
Shrimp Picatta is excellent with pasta. Angel Hair noodles are my favorite for this dish, as they twist in and out of the sauce, and shrimp, making for the perfect bite.
You can, of course, use any noodle shape you prefer, if you’re going the noodle route. Just toss the noodles with the shrimp and sauce for a delicious pasta dinner.
Another option: sourdough bread or garlic herb rolls, good butter, and roasted broccolini or asparagus. Bread is a wonderful item to have on hand because it helps you sop up all the bright delicious sauce.
For a more carb-free (or maybe gluten-free) route, garlic smashed potatoes or mashed potatoes would also be an excellent side to shrimp picatta.
More Shrimp Recipes to Love:
- Shrimp Scampi for Two
- Firecracker Shrimp Skewers
- West African Inspired Spicy Peanut Shrimp
- Curried Shrimp Fried Rice
- Spicy Chipotle Shrimp Salad
Did you make this recipe? Please leave a star rating and review in the form below. I appreciate your feedback, and it helps others, too!
Get the Recipe Easy Shrimp Picatta
- 2 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 cup shallot, finely chopped
- 6 garlic cloves, sliced
- 1 pound large or extra-large shrimp, 26-30, peeled and deveined
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup vegetable stock
- 1 lemon, zested (~1/2 tsp)
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 1/4 cup capers in brine, drained
- 1 Tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped, plus additional for garnish
- Optional: pasta for serving
- Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add olive oil. Once the oil is warm, add the chopped shallot, and cook for 1-2 minutes. I recommend a pinch of salt here to begin layering in the flavor. Add the garlic slices, cooking for 1-2 minutes until fragrant. Add a pinch of red pepper flakes if desired.
- Salt and pepper the shrimp on one side. Add the shrimp to the skillet, salt side down, cooking until one side is pink, approximately 2-3 minutes. Salt and pepper the other side of the shrimp while they cook. Flip the shrimp and cook for 1 more minute. The shrimp will not be cooked all the way through at this point, as they will finish cooking in the sauce. Remove from the skillet and place on a plate. Set aside.
- Deglaze the pan with the white wine, scraping up any stuck bits on the pan. Simmer for 1-2 minutes. Add the lemon zest and juice, and 1/4 cup vegetable stock. Let the sauce reduce for 2-3 minutes. Taste test and add additional vegetable stock as needed to thin out the flavors. Add in the capers and cook a minute or two longer.
- Return the shrimp back to the sauce, along with the chopped parsley, and cook 1-3 minutes until the shrimp are cooked through.
- Garnish with additional parsley and lemon wedges; serve with pasta as desired.