Wine and seafood: the best pairings for prawns or shrimp
As we head into the second half of August here are my top pairings for one of my favourite summer foods, prawns - or shrimp as they’re known over the pond.
Like other ingredients it depends how you cook them. The simple plate or tankard of cooked prawns in the shell I had last week is a different customer from a spicy Thai prawn curry but in general prawns or shrimp have a delicate flavour that you want to respect. Your wine should act like a squeeze of lemon which generally points to a white or a crisp rosé
Prawns or shrimp on the shell
A seasonal treat so the simpler the wine the better. I love those French seaside whites like Muscadet or Picpoul de Pinet with freshly cooked prawns. Italian whites like Pinot Grigio and Greco di Tufo also work well as do Vinho Verde, Albarino or a crisp Sancerre. Unoaked fresh whites in other words. Nothing wrong with a glass of prosecco though, obviously.
Prawn or shrimp salad
Similar wines to the above should also work unless the salad has a richer ingredient like mango or a spicy or zesty dressing in which case I’d be looking for a white with more personality like a sauvignon or semillon or a blend of the two.
Prawn or shrimp cocktail
Again it’s more about the sauce than the prawns, especially if it’s the classic marie-rose sauce. I haven’t found a better pairing than an off-dry riesling though a fruity rosé works well too (and has the virtue of being pink if you’re colour-theming your pairings ;-)
Garlicky prawns or shrimp
Garlic LOVES sauvignon blanc so that’s a good starting point. Other citrussy whites like Rueda, unoaked white Rioja, Godello, southern Italian whites like Fiano and Falanghina and English Bacchus will all work. Goodness, almost anything barring a big oaky chardonnay will do. Try manzanilla or fino sherry too.
Prawn or shrimp curry
How hot is the curry? If it’s a korma or dry tandoori try a fruity rosé, if it’s a Thai green curry, a pinot gris or a medium dry riesling may be the better pairing.
Spanish prawn or shrimp rice dishes like paella
Often contain chorizo, certainly seasonings like saffron, garlic and pimenton so they can be quite spicy. Dry Spanish rosados such as those from Rioja and Navarra work well but you could even try a young (joven) red Rioja.
Prawn or shrimp linguine - or other pasta
If your sauce is tomato-based like this one I’d lean towards a dry Italian white or light rosé like a Provence rosé or Bardolino. If it’s creamy like this tagliolini with prawns and treviso try a white with a litlle bit more weight and roundness like a Soave, Gavi, Chenin Blanc or Chablis
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