Shrimp and Red Peppers on Rosemary Sprigs

This image courtesy of Robert Holmes

DEBORAH REMEMBERS…When I was a little girl, our family lived for several years on a beach in Tahiti. We’d fish in the lagoon from our dugout outrigger canoe, and more than once I’d wake before dawn to hunt shrimp in the freshwater creek that came down from the mountains. We’d fashion torches from dead palm fronds and walk the shallows looking for deeper holes where we could scoop up shrimp trapped by the lower water level. Then at dawn we’d catch the bus into town and sell our buckets of shrimp at the local market. Of course the shrimp from the Gulf of California (Sea of Cortez) are very different from Tahitian shrimp, but I love their curled pinkness hot off the grill just the same. Choose slim but sturdy rosemary sprigs just strong enough to pierce the seafood, or substitute small bamboo skewers. Other herbs such as basil shine in this simple, lovely dish that brings the garden to your plate. Cooking delicate seafood can be a tricky process. Always marinate the seafood to add flavor and moisture, cook over moderate heat, and most important, don’t overcook it!


Cooking Methodgrilling


Total Timeunder 1 hour

OccasionCasual Dinner Party

Recipe Coursemain course

Dietary Considerationdiabetic, egg-free, gluten-free, healthy, lactose-free, low calorie, peanut free, soy free, tree nut free


Mealdinner, lunch

Taste and Texturegarlicky, herby, light, sweet

Type of Dishskewer


  • 18 sprigs fresh rosemary (preferably in flower), about 4 inches long
  • 18 large shrimp
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium shallot, chopped (about 1 tablespoon)
  • 2 cloves fresh garlic, peeled and minced (about 2 teaspoons)
  • 1 sprig fresh oregano, chopped (about 1 tablespoon)
  • 8 large leaves fresh basil, chopped (about 3 tablespoons)
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme leaves, chopped (about 1 teaspoon)
  • Grated zest of 1 lemon
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 small red bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1-inch squares
  • 1½ teaspoons paprika


  1. Strip the rosemary leaves from the sprigs, leaving one inch on top with leaves and flowers. Soak briefly in cold water.

  2. Peel and devein the shrimp, leaving the tails on if you like, and pat dry. Combine the oil, shallot, garlic, herbs, lemon zest, salt, and pepper in a glass bowl. Add the shrimp and toss thoroughly with the marinade. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

  3. Carefully thread a red pepper square onto each rosemary skewer, and follow with a shrimp. Finish with another piece of red pepper. (Use a bamboo skewer to make the holes, then slide onto the rosemary sprigs.) Sprinkle the skewers very lightly with a little paprika.

  4. Preheat a gas grill or heat a grill pan over medium heat for 5 minutes. Lightly oil the cooking surface, then cook the skewers for about 3 minutes on each side, or until the shrimp are opaque but still springy to the touch.

  5. Serve the shrimp on sautéed spinach.


  7. Substitute any firm fish, tempeh, or tofu for shrimp.


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