I hope that picture caught your attention. I made this dish and looking at it I’m thinking, boy, would I like to make that dish!! It’s the colors, it’s the SHRIMP, it’s the total package. The dish known as SHRIMP SCAMPI is almost a universal favorite because it contains so many flavors that we love. Well here comes my lecture, you’re not going to get my recipe without me pontificating about the dish. Sit down, get a nice glass of wine, espresso, coffee, tea, for other drink and let’s talk SCAMPI. First lesson of the post is that what you are looking at and probably call “Scampi” is an Italian-American creation that is correctly called SHRIMP SCAMPI, hence the title of the blog. Why is it not just SCAMPI?? GLAD YOU ASKED! This is a SCAMPI: Aren’t they gorgeous? That’s a crustacean called NEPHROPS NORVEGICUS. Say that three times. Translated it’s the NORWEGIAN LOBSTER, or most commonly called LANGOUSTINE. It also goes by the lively name DUBLIN BAY PRAWN and possibly a host of others. It’s a slender creature win long pincers that unfortunately does not inhabit the waters of the United States. Very unfortunate. This is my favorite food..on earth. How sad for me. Let’s move on. In Italy this crustacean is called LO SCAMPO or GLI SCAMPI. You’re practically fluent now! The North Atlantic and the Mediterranean are Scampi grounds. In Italy the most common way to prepare SCAMPI is split, then grilled with Olive Oil, parsley, and lemon. Simple!! Did I tell you I recently found some Scamp here in the U.S. and cooked up 6 of them? Here’s the proof:And that’s what they look like. The bodies resemble a large Shrimp (oxymoron aside) and the immigrants to the U.S. from Italy recreated this dish and transformed it, using the available shrimp here into a dish that now took on some of those Italian traits all pressed together to create the Olive Oil, Shrimp, Lemon, Wine or Vermouth, Parsley and Garlic dish we call SHRIMP SCAMPI! Ok, class is over, there will be a quiz tomorrow before you’ve had your first latte. I hope that was interesting but what’s even more interesting will be cooking and eating Shrimp Scampi so let’s get cooking!!
PREP AND COOKING TIME: 1/2 hour SERVES: 4
1 1/2 LB JUMBO SHRIMP, PEELED AND DEVIENED (stop right here..did you throw those shrimp shells out? really? Do you like the taste of a rich shrimp bisque? That flavor comes not from the meat of the shrimp, but from a stock that is a reduction of the shells. The flavor in the shells is just amazing. You can either make your stock while you are cooking the shrimp, or freeze them in a tightly closed bag for about 1 month. Then use them when you get a nice amount and make a stock similar to how you would make a chicken stock. Don’t waste anything!! All those flavors that a good chef/cook will wow you with are derived many times from what’s considered garbage)
1/4 cup OLIVE OIL
2 TBS. UNSALTED BUTTER
4 SLICED CLOVES OF GARLIC
1/8 CUP WHITE WINE OR VERMOUTH
PINCH OF FRESH GROUND BLACK PEPPER
2 TBS. FINELY MINCED ITALIAN FLAT LEAF PARSLEY
In a wide skillet heat 1/2 the oil and 1/2 the garlic, pinch of salt. Saute’ for only under a minute, then add the shrimp. Saute’ for a few minutes on each side then remove them and the pan contents to a platter and lightly cover with foil. Now add the rest of the oil, the garlic, when you smell that garlic…add the wine and bring to a boil then to a simmer. Let this cook for 2 minutes, then add the shrimp back in and coat well with the pan juices. Cook for 3 minutes. Remove from heat. Add the parsley, the lemon juice, pinch of salt, black pepper and the butter. Now be a good cook and taste one of the shrimp…(how will you know if it tastes right??)..if they are done, they are ready to serve.. If you need more seasoning..go with more lemon juice before you add salt, or just a pinch. Now serve on their own, with rice, with pasta. This is a clean crisp presentation. Some recipes call for the kitchen sink to be added as well (in the 60’s they added Worchestershire Sauce..i’m pretty sure that those Italian scampi weren’t swimming in Worchestershire Sauce…so…no thanks to that in my Scampi Style Shrimp!!).
The butter is a finisher…a closer if you will..it adds a little flavor, but it pulls the dish together as opposed to cooking this in a butter “sauce”..where butter is the main fat in the sauce. and the Lemon and parsley are last too because they add tons of flavor to it, fresh flavor. If you add those ingredients early on..they sort of get lost in the end product. US WILD CAUGHT SHRIMP..a product we can be proud of and really the best type to use for your cooking and eating. Hopefully you can find some near you to create this dish!!