By Terry Sweeney
You know there are some fabulous yet inexpensive California white wines that pair beautifully with the biggest stars in the shrimp world: prawns. Or so I thought. But I was wrong. Not about the wine of course, but Professor Google informs me that a prawn is actually a completely different species in the lobster family found quite far from these parts. Down here, what many people are calling prawns are actually jumbo shrimp pretending they’re prawns! Well I guess the same thing happens in x-rated movies. That pizza guy who’s delivering a lot more than pizza isn’t really an employee of a legitimate pizza chain, and it’s certainly doubtful that the busty, naughty nurse in the white stilettos ever graduated from a reputable nursing school with her degree. It’s all pretend. I even double checked with a local shrimper who confirmed our juicy southern jumbo shrimp are just good actors. He told me there are even bigger shrimp on the way however. Apparently, huge tiger shrimp have started to swim our way from Asia. But heck, they’re not prawns either.
So instead, let’s just have some good, clean fun with the jumbo shrimp we have and its soulmate–white wine. There are three go-to white wines that I always serve with this very tasty recipe for skewered citrus garlic prawns (aka jumbo shrimp down here) that you can prepare on your barbecue grill. You’ve heard me mention these wines before and in some instances even dedicate entire columns to them. The first is Sean Minor Sauvignon Blanc…the tart crispness of this most refreshing wine always enhances any fish or shellfish you serve it with. It’s under $20 but drinks like a far more expensive white. Picpoul de Pinet is another fabulous French tarty girl from the Languedoc region in the south of France. The cool, moist winds of the Mediterranean blow across the limestone plateaus of this area and give it a tantalizing minerality that screams, “Gimme shrimp!” You’ll also be thrilled with the price tag as it’s under $15. And the last choice for me is Joel Gott Chardonnay. It’s the perfect choice for any shrimp lover. I like that Joel’s white Chardonnay is unoaked. I feel it is the perfect antidote for the sometimes buttery mess that shrimp and lobster can sometimes get themselves into. But then again I’m an unoaked kind of guy, so it suits me just fine. If you crave oaky, buttery chardonnay, go buy one! And tell everyone they can kiss your shrimp grits! I put wine in this recipe that follows because I think it enhances all the other ingredients. But heck, I’d put wine on my cereal if I could, so you know where I stand. The best part of these skewered shrimp is how fast they can be prepared. Do not over marinate or overcook them. Again, remember the recipe calls for prawns, but we know jumbo shrimp is what we are using till some darn prawn swims the shell over here!