Sunday, March 16, 2008

Shrimp Scampi

Shrimp Scampi is one of those dishes I really enjoy but rarely get in restaurants. Along the lines of spaghetti and meatballs, it is a dish best kept simple but people try to make fancy.

The list of ingredients is fairly short and simple:
lemon juice
parmesan cheese
white wine
olive oil

The amounts of this items can vary based upon your taste of even what you have in your kitchen, fresh parsley is a must though. Most people have everything listed above except the shallots and the fresh parsley, so pick some up when you hit the store to get your shrimp.

Speaking of shrimp we actually cheat sometimes and roll with pre-cooked, shelled, de-veined frozen shrimp. I spoke with the fish guys at Whole Foods and they said all their shrimp are frozen when they get them, so aside from what the recipe calls for, the representation was that there is little difference.

One could defrost them in a brine, which always makes shrimp tastier, or even get them raw and brine them but the plan is to put a fresh dish on the table in 30 minutes. When we grill shrimp we always try to make a point of brining them first, it is worth the effort.

To make the scampi, I prep first by mincing up the garlic and shallots

and then sauté them in about 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil and a tablespoon of unsalted butter over medium heat for about 4-5 minutes.

At the same time, I have the pasts boiling and in to cook. Once the garlic and onions are sautéed, I add 1/4 cup of white wine, the juice of half a lemon and then the shrimp. Since the shrimp is already pre-cooked, it is mostly a quick stir or two at this stage. I then remove from heat. Once the pasta is done, I plate the pasta, then spoon the shrimp / sauce over the pasta, finish with some parmesan cheese and fresh parsley.

Some fresh ground pepper to taste and you are good to go. Serve with some crusty bread and the rest of the white wine and you have a pretty tasty and quick meal. A non-tradition variation to this dish is to add some tomatoes to it. It adds some nice color to the dish as well as a good contrasting flavor.

We now make this about once a week and have served it for company. The only gotcha is that with the pre-cooked shrimp you have to be careful not to overcook it when you incorporate the sauce and the shrimp together.

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T.W. Barritt at Culinary Types said...

This is a great, quick take on a tasty recipe. I've got some frozen shrimp in the freezer, so I know what it will be used for now.

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