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Shrimp La Locanda

by Jane Worthington-Roth

Many years ago we visited the Caribbean island of St. Martin and stayed at a small boutique hotel on the French side. We didn’t feel like driving far to find a restaurant and so we traveled down the hill to a small pier where we found an absolute gem called La Locanda. Most of the patrons in this tiny restaurant were locals who loved the food and the ambiance. I understood why - the food was so delicious that we ate there three times that week!

Our favorite was their Sicilian Shrimp. It’s easy to recreate at home and is especially good when you didn’t plan supper in advance and have some frozen raw shrimp in the freezer. Although I tend to favor recipes where you don’t have to worry about precise measurements, you do have to be very careful with this one. If you are heavy-handed with the olives it will end up tasting like shrimp with tapenade and will not be good. So please watch the amounts. (Trust me – I’ve made this mistake!)

Although I’m not a big fan of oaky chardonnay wines and my mantra is ABC (Anything But Chardonnay), I have to admit that it is the best choice for this recipe as the buttery notes of chardonnay blend very well with the other Mediterranean ingredients.

Serve the shrimp in individual bowls with some crusty bread to soak up all the flavorful liquid. If you’d prefer, you can serve some rice or couscous on the side but it’s really not necessary.


Olive oil, for sautéing
½ large sweet onion, sliced
3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
14.5 oz. can of petite diced tomatoes
4 Kalamata olives, pitted and thinly sliced
1 tablespoon brined capers
½ cup each, chopped fresh basil and parsley
½ bottle white wine (preferably Chardonnay)
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
2 pounds medium size raw shrimp, shelled

In a really hot pan, sauté the onions in a little olive oil until soft and translucent. Add the garlic, reduce the heat a bit and continue sautéing until the garlic just begins to brown. Be careful to not let the garlic burn.

Add the tomatoes, olives and capers and let the liquid reduce a bit. When you add the tomatoes, the onion and garlic will stop browning. Remove the pan from the heat while you pour in the wine and herbs, stir well and continue cooking to let the flavors meld for about 5 minutes.

Arrange the shrimp in a single layer and cook until the shrimp is pink and opaque throughout – about 3 to 4 minutes.

Serve in individual bowls with some chewy crusty bread on the side.