Shrimp in Sambuca Cream Sauce

Shrimp in Sambuca Cream Sauce has the perfect blend of sweet black licorice taste with a smooth garlic bite! It is an appetizer or main dish that will dazzle you! If you want a restaurant style classic . . . this is the one! It is simply delicious. You will ask for a spoon to finish the remaining sauce on your plate. If you are not doing Keto, a piece of crusty bread will do the trick. For a Keto delight, how about only 4g of carbs!

Sambuca cream sauce recipes have been around for years. You can use them as a sauce for steamed mussels, scallops, and certainly shrimp. At the restaurant, Sambuca shrimp is often a table-side delight, since using a flambé technique to burn off the alcohol is a show stopper. By now you may wondering if your palate is up for a licorice cream sauce – but you do not have to be a huge fan of licorice to enjoy this recipe. The end result is mild and slightly sweet. It is outstanding!

Ingredients

Obviously, Sambuca takes center stage for this appetizer. Joanie and I both enjoy Sambuca. She requests it often at restaurants as an after dinner drink. Two ingredient tips, though. First, use Italian Sambuca (not Ouzo) – the taste is different. And, secondly, make sure you do not use black Sambuca. This is a creamy pale sauce that requires a clear Sambuca base. Any clear Italian Sambuca will work well.

Garlic, shallot, tomato, and basil . . . remember this is an Italian appetizer. We have seen similar recipes that call for tarragon, chives, and even oregano. Stick with the four Joanie uses in her version. The garlic and shallot enhance the earthy tomato flavor and the basil adds to the natural sweetness of the reduced Sambuca. Remember, the sauce is not overpowering. It is mild and tasty.

We also need to emphasize the shrimp. We have a number of shrimp appetizer recipes on our site. If you haven’t already done so, try these for an alternative:

We suggest using jumbo tiger shrimp (12-15) if making the recipe as an appetizer. You can see Joanie’s presentation. The larger shrimp are easier to butterfly and they will WOW your guests. Smaller shrimp can be used if you make a larger batch and serve over zoodles. That would be a perfect main course.

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Preparation Tips

Joanie’s recommends using a non-stick skillet to prepare the sauce. This is always a good idea for cream sauces. We love our Calphalon non-stick Skillet; although, any non-stick will work well. However, if you decide to employ the flambé technique you would be better off using a stainless skillet.

The recipe comes together quickly so we advise having all of your ingredients measured and at hand. Even if you are using larger shrimp, they will be done quickly. No one likes an overcooked shrimp dish, and that is a problem we see often. Reserving the shrimp in foil while you make the sauce will also add to the cook time, so pull your shrimp early. Three minutes is perfect.

Even the cream sauce should be done quickly. You can even remove the pan from the heat before adding the cream. Joanie likes to add a little butter at the end for more creaminess and sheen. Stir continuously after adding the cream, and especially after adding the butter, until you plate. It will thicken as it cools and you do not want the butter to separate.

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Shrimp in Sambuca Cream Sauce – The Perfect Italian Appetizer with Just a Taste of Sweet Sambuca

Keto Shrimp in Sambuca Cream Sauce is simply the perfect Italian appetizer. It is earthy, yet sweet. It works well with any seafood. Joanie even uses it as a topping for grilled chicken or fish. The creamy sauce has just a hint of sweet licorice in cream . . . definitely Tasty Low Carb!

Shrimp in Sambuca Cream Sauce

Keto Shrimp in Sambuca Cream Sauce is the perfect Italian appetizer. The creamy sauce has just a hint of sweet licorice in a tomato-basil cream. An Italian sauce that will work on fish or chicken, as well.
Gluten Free
Peanut Free
5 from 1 vote
CourseAppetizer
CuisineItalian
Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time10 minutes
Total Time15 minutes
Servings3
Net Carbs4g
AuthorJoanie and Chris

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons Butter
  • 1 medium Shallot (finely chopped )
  • 1 pound Shrimp (12-15 size, butterfly)
  • 3 cloves Garlic (finely chopped)
  • cup Tomatoes (diced)
  • 2 tablespoons White wine
  • 2 tablespoons Sambuca
  • ¼ teaspoon Sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon Pepper
  • ½ cup Heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons Butter
  • 4 leaves Basil (julienned for garnish)

Instructions

  • Heat a non-stick skillet to medium-high. Add 2 tablespoons butter, when melted add the shallots and sauté for 1 minute, add the shrimp and cook for 1 minute .
  • Add the chopped garlic and diced tomatoes, flip the shrimp and cook for an additional 2 minutes. Remove the shrimp and wrap in foil.
  • Pour in the white wine, de-glaze the pan, add the sambuca, and cook for 2 minutes.
  • Reduce the heat to low or remove from the heat. Add the heavy cream, stir for 2 minutes, add salt and pepper to taste. Finally add the remaining butter and stir constantly for 2 minutes.
  • Plate the sauce and arrange the shrimp on top of the sauce. Garnish with basil strips.

Equipment (Click Picture)

Chef’s Notes

If you prefer you can leave the shrimp in the pan when preparing the Sambuca sauce and after adding the cream. The flavors will meld. This would be suitable for a cream sauce over Zoodles. Just make sure your Zoodles are cooked in advance.

NUTRITION

Calories: 292.96kcal | Carbohydrates: 4.55g | Protein: 1.57g | Fat: 29.89g | Saturated Fat: 18.73g | Cholesterol: 94.48mg | Sodium: 345.03mg | Potassium: 124.66mg | Fiber: 0.59g | Sugar: 1.29g | Calcium: 42.81mg | Net Carbs: 4g
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