The Country Cooking of Italy's Grilled Shrimp with Rosemary

Melissa Hamilton and Christopher Hirsheimer

Having been to a fair share of barbecues in Italy, it's fairly safe to say that rosemary is always invited. Add protein of some sort, salt, loads of olive oil and wine, and an open flame, and that's pretty much the formula for a leisurely afternoon of Italian-style grilling.

These Grilled Shrimp with Rosemary from Colman Andrews' The Country Cooking of Italy exemplify this simple approach to cooking out. The shrimp are left intact (they stay more flavorful that way), skewered with on the rosemary branches, seasoned with salt, brushed with olive oil, and grilled. The shrimp (or prawns if you can get them) take on woody notes from the rosemary while retaining all of their subtle sweetness. Oh, and please don't forget to enjoy all the greatness in those heads.

What Worked: When it comes to Italian grilling, simplicity is key. You don't need more than four ingredients if they're all top notch.

What Didn't: Non possiamo lamentarci—no complaints.

Suggested Tweaks: This method works with all sorts of seafood and especially well with quick cooking cuts of lamb.

Recipe Facts



Active: 15 mins
Total: 20 mins
Serves: 6 servings

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  • 6 straight rosemary branches, 6 to 8 inches/15 to 20 centimeters long, soaked overnight in water
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 16 large shell-on fresh shrimp/prawns
  • Salt


  1. Light a grill/barbecue and let the coals or wood get very hot (if using a gas grill, preheat to about 600oF/315oC).

  2. Drain and dry the rosemary branches, then pull off a few leaves from each one, producing about 2 tablespoons of leaves in all. Mince the leaves, in a small bowl, combine them with the oil.

  3. Skewer 4 shrimp on each rosemary branch, then brush them on both sides with the oil and season them generously with salt.

  4. Grill/barbecue the shrimp, turning once, until just done, about 3 minutes per side. Serve hot or at room temperature.

Special equipment