Mother Earth Living

Basil Varieties: Basil-Buttered Shrimp on a Bed of Greens

By Caleb Melchior
June/July 2010
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Photo by Howard Lee Puckett


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Serves 4

• Juice of 1⁄2 lemon
• 1 pound large raw shrimp
• 4 cups arugula or baby spinach
• 1⁄4 cup olive oil
• 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar, divided
• Sea salt
• 2 tablespoons butter
• 1⁄4 cup ‘Pesto Perpetuo’ basil leaves, chopped fine
• Freshly ground black pepper
• Small ‘Pesto Perpetuo’ basil leaves

1. Fill a large stockpot halfway with water. Add a handful of sea salt and the juice of 1/2 a lemon. Cover and bring to a boil. Peel shrimp, leaving tails on. Devein, if desired.

2. When water is bubbling vigorously, toss in shrimp. Cover and remove from heat. Let sit 5 minutes, or until shrimp are pink. 

3. In the meantime, toss greens with olive oil and 2 tablespoons of the vinegar. Salt to taste. Mound greens on four salad plates. Drain shrimp, then return to pan. Add butter, remaining vinegar and chopped basil. Salt and pepper to taste. Drop shrimp atop the mounds of greens and serve.

Shortcut option: Peel and devein shrimp. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat; add shrimp and sauté 3 to 5 minutes or until shrimp turn pink. Stir in 1 tablespoon vinegar, lemon juice and chopped basil. Toss arugula with olive oil and remaining vinegar. Mound greens on plates. Top with warm shrimp and serve.


Caleb Melchior studies landscape architecture. When not working in the studio, he writes about food and gardens. 

Click here for the main article,  Basil Varieties: A Cook's Guide to Uncommon Basils .








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