Marinated Shrimp with Basil and Capers

Marinated Shrimp with Basil and Capers

I love planning and attending parties. It’s genetic; a “party gene” that has been refined and honed through generations of, for lack of a better word, “partying”. My friends, as well, are a party-loving sort and we especially enjoy trading particularly delicious recipes to rev up the party engine.

My friend Debbie has refined and perfected the “Art of Entertaining” (sounding infinitely more refined than “partying”) to a science. She recently made a marinated shrimp appetizer that was delicious. She received the recipe from another friend, Linda Cole, known for her particularly delicious appetizers. In keeping with the best recipe chains, Debbie tweaked the recipe omitting black olives and adding fresh basil. I left Debbie’s recipe alone, why tamper with perfection?

When friends ask my advise on cocktail party menus, I alway include some variation of shrimp. I do, however, recommend isolating the shrimp from the kitchen or bar area. When I entertain, these habitats are like Grand Central Station in rush hour, while the other household areas remain barren. Shrimp are guest magnets so I place them where I would like my friends to congregate, in addition to the kitchen and bar.

Recipe: Marinated Shrimp with Basil and Capers


  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 2-4 teaspoons minced fresh garlic
  • 1/4 cup capers, brine from bottle included
  • Hot sauce, your preferred
  • 1 medium white onion, sliced as thinly as possible
  • 2 pounds medium-sized cooked shrimp*, shelled and deveined
  • 1 large lemon, sliced as thinly as possible
  • 1 heaping tablespoon chopped basil


  1. Whisk together olive oil, vinegar, sugar, dry mustard, 2 teaspoons garlic and brine from capers. Add kosher salt, hot sauce and additional garlic, if desired, to taste.
  2. Place shrimp and onion in marinade and marinate, refrigerated, at least 4 hours and up to 24 hours, turning occasionally.
  3. Garnish with sliced lemon and basil before serving.

*I always buy raw shrimp and cook them, in the shell, in a large pot of rapidly boiling water seasoned with a seafood seasoning, such as Zatarain’s or Old Bay. Do not overcook your shrimp! Cooking time depends on the size of the shrimp used, anywhere from 1-4 minutes.

Marinate Time: 4-24 hours

Preparation time: 30 minutes

Number of servings (yield): Appetizers for 12-16 (depending on other foods served)

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