Do you have a favorite meal for those need-something-quick-and-don’t-want-to-have-to-plan-or-work-too-hard days? I like keeping a bag of shrimp in the freezer just for those times. I’ll put some frozen shrimp in a bowl of ice water, and if I’m serving them with pasta, by the time the pasta water has come to a boil the shrimp are defrosted enough to cook. Shrimp scampi has to be one of the easiest ways to quickly prepare shrimp. We simply sauté the shrimp with garlic in butter and olive oil, splash it with white wine, let the wine reduce while the shrimp cooks, and then toss it with fresh parsley, lemon juice and black pepper.
If you are using frozen shrimp, defrost them quickly and safely by putting the shrimp in a large bowl of lightly salted ice water (1 1/2 teaspoons of salt for every quart of water).
We cook the shrimp scampi in butter and olive oil so we can cook at a relatively high heat without burning the butter but still impart the butter flavor.
- 1 pound large (16-20 count) shrimp, shelled* and de-veined, (if you want, keep the tail on for an attractive presentation)
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 2-3 Tbsp butter
- 3-4 garlic cloves, slivered, or 1 Tbsp minced garlic
- 1/2 to 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 1 Tbsp lemon juice
* Shell on? or Shell off? It's really up to you. Shrimp cooked shell on are more flavorful because the shells infuse more flavor into the shrimp while they cook. But, shell-on is fussier to eat. If you remove the shells before cooking the shrimp, you can save them for making shellfish stock.
1 Heat a sauté pan on high heat then reduce to medium high heat. Swirl the butter and olive oil into the pan. After the butter melts it will foam up a bit then subside. If using unsalted butter, sprinkle a little salt in the pan. Stir in the slivered garlic and red pepper flakes.
2 Sauté the garlic for just a minute, until it begins to brown at the edges, then add the shrimp. Add the wine and stir to coat the shrimp with the sauce of butter, oil, and wine. Move the shrimp so they are in an even layer in the pan. Increase the heat to high and boil the wine for two to three minutes.
3 Stir the shrimp and arrange them so that you turn them over to cook on the other side. Continue to cook on high heat for another minute.
4 Remove the pan from the heat. Sprinkle the shrimp with parsley, lemon juice, and black pepper, and toss to combine.
Serve as is, or with crusty bread, over pasta, or over rice (for gluten-free version).