Sicilian Sauteed Shrimp with Almonds

Sauteed Shrimp with Almonds |

I first had the combination of almonds, shrimp, and toasted breadcrumbs while visiting the tiny Sicilian island of Pantelleria many years ago. After a long journey that involved 2 flights, a taxi, and an overnight ferry in a cabin with 3 very sweet Italian women (who were mystified as to why I was traveling solo), I was superbly rewarded with some of the best memories and meals I have ever eaten. To this day, one of my most vivid food memories is the delicious pasta I had topped with sweet succulent shrimp, and crunchy almonds then dusted with toasted breadcrumbs. It still makes my mouth water (l’acquolina in bocca 😊) every time I think about it.

Our mother’s family originated in the little village of Santo Stefano di Camastra on the northern coast of Sicily. Growing up, we were so very fortunate to be surrounded by the flavors of the island in meals and recipes served by our relatives. Pine nuts and pistachios, capers and anchovies, raisins and fennel all found their way into dishes that all felt so exotic at the time. We have since visited Sicily many times and have fallen in love with the unique flavors of the island – influences from Greek, Arab, and Turkish cuisines – a wonderful melding of flavors at the crossroads of the Mediterranean.

The tiny windswept island of Pantelleria finds itself closer to Tunisia in North Africa than to Sicily. I had traveled there in search of caper berries. (I had read an article that most of the world’s caper berries came from Pantelleria. Not one for needing much of an excuse to travel, I decided to see the caper berries for myself. So off I went!) I so fell in love with the little island. I even returned for another visit months later. I couldn’t get enough of the friendly locals, the spectacular views of the sea, the Arab-esque domed homes built out of rock, and of course, the delicious and unique cuisine. Pantescan cuisine is heavily influenced by neighboring Tunisia – dishes rich with eggplants, capers, tomatoes, and wild fennel; all mingled with accents of almonds, couscous, honey, spices, and dried fruit. Delicious.

A few notes

This dish is one of the recipes on rotation for our Feast of the Seven Fishes on Christmas eve. (Speaking of Seven Fishes 😊, Joey and I have a new free download of a few of our favorite recipes for the Feast. Simply sign up to follow us on the blog to receive! And if you are already a subscriber and would like to receive, just drop us a note at INFO@OURITALIANTABLE.COM and we will send on over to you ❤️)

Cover photo Feast of the Seven Fishes |

You may be tempted to skip the breadcrumb topping – but I implore you to not! They add a special crunchy texture to the dish. You can easily make the breadcrumbs ahead of time. We usually toast up a double batch so we have plenty to sprinkle on other dishes. Toasted breadcrumbs are found on many dishes throughout Siciliy and are considered a ‘poor man’s cheese’ as many were unable to afford the real stuff to sprinkle on their pasta. It was also a very economical and ingenious way to use up old bread.


And from Joey and I, wishing all our American friends the very happiest of Thanksgivings! May your day be spent surrounded by those you love and cherish ❤️

Tanti baci,

xx Michele ❤️

clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon
Sauteed Shrimp with Almonds |

Sicilian Sauteed Shrimp with Almonds

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

5 from 1 review


The perfect easy antipasto or first-course for the holidays – sauteed shrimp made festive with a sprinkling of almonds and toasted breadcrumbs!



For the breadcrumbs:

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 medium clove garlic
  • Kosher salt

For the shrimp: 

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium clove garlic
  • 1 pound jumbo shrimp, peeled, tail left on, deveined
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine
  • ¼ cup Italian flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • ¼ cup sliced almonds

To serve: Lemon slices


Make the breadcrumbs: Heat the oil in a small pan over medium-low heat. Give the garlic clove a smash with the side of a chef’s knife. Discard peel. Add the garlic to the pan and cook until it sizzles and is fragrant about 30 seconds. Add in the breadcrumbs. Stir to combine. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the breadcrumbs are golden and toasted. Watch very carefully as the breadcrumbs can burn very quickly.  Remove from the heat. Remove the smashed garlic clove. Season lightly with salt. Place the breadcrumbs in a bowl and set aside.

Cook the shrimp: In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-low heat. Give the garlic clove a smash with the side of a chef’s knife. Add the garlic to the pan and cook until it sizzles and is fragrant about 30 seconds. Remove from the pan.

Add in the shrimp. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Cook until the shrimp turn pink, about 2 minutes on each side.

Add in the wine and parsley and stir until the wine has evaporated.

Plate the shrimp. Sprinkle with the sliced almonds and toasted breadcrumbs. Serve immediately with lemon slices alongside.

Make-ahead: The breadcrumbs can be made up to 3 days in advance. Place in an airtight container and refrigerate. Bring to room temperature before using.



  • You may be tempted to skip the breadcrumbs but don’t! They add a wonderful texture and crunch to the dish. In fact, we usually make extra so we can sprinkle them on other dishes throughout the week.

Join the Conversation

  1. Hi Becci’s – I’m Gluten Free and this is a great & dish to serve Gluten Free. I have used GF panko bread crumbs to make this dish. Grandma Aquilina (my Mom’s Mother, who was Sicilian ) served this dish over plain risotto rice.

    1. Michele Author says:

      Ciao ciao! Super easy to make gluten free indeed! And my oh my – sounds yummy over rice! -Michele

  2. Sounds absolutely delicious. This is a new one for me, and I’m anxious to try it! I’m hoping to get to Pantelleria one day, too—but like you said it’s quite the journey! I think I’ll combine with a return to other areas of Sicily I want to check out…

    1. Michele Author says:

      Ciao ciao Frank! You will absolutely love Pantelleria if you do go! Hope you enjoy the dish ….a presto! Michele

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe rating 5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

Our Italian Table © Copyright 2020. All rights reserved.