Spicy Sriracha Grilled Shrimp is the perfect party appetizer. The mild spiciness is tamed with a refreshing glass of Prosecco Superiore. Find out why this pairing works, and why you should serve it at your next dinner party.
It’s the holiday season. A time of celebration. A time of parties and entertaining. A time of year where bubbles are popped more than any other time. But one of the things I’m most passionate about is not just drinking sparkling wine for New Year’s or as an aperitif at a party (nothing wrong with either, but I’m just a proponent for year-round sparkling sipping, and pairing it with all styles of food).
And one of the most versatile styles of sparkling wine, one great for pairing with a wide variety of foods and styles, is Prosecco Superiore.
A couple weeks ago I shared one of my favorite sparkling wine pairings with a recipe for Grilled Pork Chops with a Wine Brown Butter Sauce and shared what makes Prosecco Superiore different than other styles of Prosecco. If you missed that you can catch up here.
If you are here for the first time and asking yourself what is Prosecco, or Prosecco Superiore, in the first place, start with this post on Champagne vs. Prosecco.
But what I want to focus on now is the styles of Prosecco Superiore (in particular the levels of sweetness), and what styles of food they pair best with, and explain how a pairing like Spicy Siriacha Grilled Shrimp works so well with one of the primary styles of wine.
Understanding different styles of Prosecco Superiore
If you remember, Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG, and it’s smaller, more concentrated designations, are among the highest quality sparkling wines produced within the region. In the next post, we’ll dive into the smaller regions within Conegliano Valdobbiadene and what make them unique. For now, we’re focusing on style.
3 types of Prosecco wine are produced:
- Tranquillo: The still wine of the region, and the least known. This niche product represents a very small (1%) of the wine made in the region, and not likely to be found outside of Italy.
- Frizzante: Semi-sparkling (or “fizzy”) wines which have been stored on their lees in the bottle. These are considered to be the real representatives of region. These undergo a brief re-fermentation in the bottle during the spring, and are meant to be drunk in the summer and autumn following the vintage
- Spumante: The most popular and widely produced style at 92% of total production, this is the fully sparkling style.
Styles of Prosecco Superiore – From Dry to Sweet
The majority of the wine produced here is in a dry (“brut”) style, even though the wines come across “fruity” due to their natural fruit flavors found in the Glera grape (the primary grape of these wines, and constitute at least 85% of the wine). It can be confusing at first, but here is how you can tell how dry or sweet a wine is by looking at the label.
- Brut: 0–12 g/l RS (residual sugar)– The driest style, and most common, with up to 12 grams per liter of residual sugar after bottling (or up to a half gram of sugar per glass).
- Extra Dry:12–17 g/l RS– Considered “off dry” with 12-17 grams of sugar per liter (or just over a half gram of sugar per glass).
- Dry: 17–32 g/l RS– The sweetest style, with 17-32 grams of sugar per liter (or up to 1 gram of sugar per glass).
Food Pairing for Prosecco Superiore
- With Brut being the most common and least sweet this is going to pair with the widest variety of food, from appetizers to main dishes. This is what we paired that Grilled Pork Chops with in this post. You can also pair with salads, seafood, or even light pasta dishes.
- Extra Dry is going to have more dominant fruitiness and a hint of sweetness. These are also great as an aperitif, but also with rich sauces, cream based foods, or even flavorful meats like duck or game hens.
- Dry is the least common, and one that will demonstrate the most fruit and sweetness. Most will pair this style with pastries or semi-sweet dessert dishes. But my favorite pairing for this, and what we’re doing below, is with spicy food!
Spicy Sriracha Grilled Shrimp
I loooooove shrimp. It’s one of the seafood dishes we grill the most around here (next to salmon). It’s great as an appetizer or used in tacos or pasta.
Shrimp has a natural sweetness to it, making it great with a touch of heat to balance it out. But we like to go big with our flavors when it comes to shrimp.
This recipe calls for a spicy marinade. But don’t worry, it’s not over the top spicy! There’s lots of balancing flavors. We’ve got some sweet and citrus from the orange juice to balance out the spiciness of the sriracha. If sriracha isn’t your thing you can substitute your favorite hot sauce (but we don’t recommend leaving it out entirely, as it’s balanced out by sweeter elements.
After the marinade we’re going to give it a coating in our ultimate dry rub (which has a balance of umami and sweet flavors).
Everything is in balance here. And it’s going to be ridiculous with a glass of refreshing and slightly sweet Dry Prosecco Superiore.
Spicy Shrimp Marinade
Place all of the marinade ingredients in a large bowl or gallon size food bag, add the shrimp, mix together, and place in the refrigerator for a half hour (no more than 1 hour, as the acid from citrus can “cook” shrimp if left too long).
Don’t have sriracha? Use your favorite hot sauce, or be brave and add a tablespoon of chipotle in adobo sauce!
The Dry Rub
After the marinade time, remove the shrimp from the marinade (and discard the liquid). Skewer the shrimp onto pre-soaked wood skewers (or metal skewers; no need to soak metal ones). Then coat with the dry rub. This is going to give your shrimp even more flavor as the marinade caramelizes while grilling hot and fast. We use our Ultimate Dry Rub for this recipe (but feel free to use whatever you typically use for seafood or chicken).
How to Grill Spicy Shrimp
Set up your grill for direct heat and place your shrimp over direct heat for up to 3 minutes per side. The ideal internal temperature for shrimp is 120 degrees F. If the shrimp constricts, that is the sign they are overcooked and can get rubbery.
Serve to guests on the skewers, or remove from the skewer and serve as a finger food.
If you’re nervous about the heat (and you shouldn’t be), you can serve with a cooling and refreshing simple creamy dipping sauce.
The idea is to create balance between the spicy flavors, the umami, and the sweet finished with the creamy coolness of the dipping sauce. The semi-sweet wine will bring everything together for an epic finale!
Spicy Sriracha Grilled Shrimp – The Recipe & Video
Spicy Sriracha Grilled Shrimp
- 1 pound of shrimp, peeled and deveined (26-30 count)
For The Spicy Sriracha Marinade:
For the rub:
- ½ cup of the Ultimate Dry Rub, or your favorite dry rub for seafood or poultry
Creamy Dipping Sauce:
- 1 cup Crème fraiche (sour cream works too)
- 1 tablespoon Sriracha (or favorite spicy hot sauce)
- ½ lime, juiced
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Wood Skewers (or metal)
- Soak wood skewers for at least 1 hours in water prior to grilling (good to do the night before in a plastic bag). If using metal skewers this step isn’t necessary.
- Prepare marinade by combining all ingredients in a bowl or plastic bag. Add shrimp to marinade and then refrigerate for 30 minutes, no more than an hour. (The acid from citrus can “cook” shrimp if left too long).
- Set grill for direct grilling.
- Remove shrimp from marinade and discard marinade. Skewer the shrimp (we like four shrimp to a skewer) and then apply dry rub to both sides of the shrimp.
- Place shrimp over direct heat for up to 3 minutes per side. The ideal internal temperature for shrimp is 120 degrees F. If the shrimp constrict, that is the sign they are overcooked and can get rubbery.
- Remove from heat and serve with your favorite dipping sauce.
- For the Creamy Dipping Sauce, combine all ingredients and serve in a ramekin.
Wine Pairing for Spicy Grilled Shrimp
I chose a Dry style of Prosecco Superiore for this because it has just enough sweetness and fruity flavors to balance out that hint of heat from the shrimp, while creating great balance. The fruitiness compliments the grilled shrimp, while bringing out some of that natural sweetness from the meat. The wine also acts as a fantastic palate cleanser between bites.
This is going to be a hit at your next party!
This post was sponsored by Consorzio di Tutela Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG. As always, all opinions are my own and I only work with folks I love and support. And I will always have a warm place in my heart for the Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore growing region.