Tuesday, March 27, 2012

shrimp scampi

Today I was sitting at work when a deep longing for shrimp came over me. Over the course of the day, I dreamt of tempura shrimp, cioppino loaded with shrimp, even shrimp cocktail. My brain would NOT let go of shrimp. Toward the end of the day, after much Googling of cioppino recipes and consulting of the budget, it was clear that I was NOT going to be making any lovely mixed seafood stew for dinner tonight. I did, however, happen to have two bags of frozen shrimp in my freezer, so all was not lost!

I contemplated green curry for a while, but it just wasn't quite what I wanted. Dreaming of shrimp, I went on with my work day. Towards the end of the afternoon, it hit me: scampi. Garlicky, buttery, lemony, winey, shrimpy scampi. After that revelation, itt was on like Donkey Kong. I was on a mission.

On the way home, I stopped to pick up the few items I did not already have in the house for scampi - a bottle of white wine, some fresh parsley, and some lemons. When I got home, I defrosted the shrimp under some cold running water and peeled them (because apparently my idea of "peeled and deveined" is different than the shrimp manufacturer's...), then left them to dry on some paper towels while I finely chopped a small yellow onion and six cloves of garlic. Yes, six. Some of them were small. And I really like garlic.

When things were chopped and ready to roll, I put 4 TBSP of unsalted butter (I use Kerrygold Irish butter. It's wonderful and well worth the extra money) and 2 TBSP of coconut oil in a large pan over medium heat. Yes, I realize most recipes call for olive oil, but I like coconut oil better.

Once the butter had melted and stopped foaming, I added the chopped onion and garlic. Things went pretty quick from here on out - the onion and garlic only cook for a couple minutes, until the onion starts to become translucent. Then, the shrimp go in and get stirred around pretty frequently until they're about halfway cooked, which only takes 2-3 minutes. Then the wine goes in - I used pinot grigio but chardonnay would also be yummy. I used about half a cup. The juice of two lemons also went in. To that, I added a little salt and black pepper and just the scantest bit of cayenne pepper (which you can totally omit if you don't want any bite). I turned the heat down to low and let everything cook together for 2-3 minutes more, until the shrimp were fully cooked. I then killed the heat, chopped up some fresh parsley, gave it all a good toss, and plated it up:

Yes, I realize that scampi is usually served over pasta or rice - something to soak up the fabulous sauce. I don't eat pasta or rice anymore, so I just skipped that part. And you know what? The sauce tastes just as good when you're slurping it up off the plate by itself as it does when you're slurping it up with pasta. When you tip the plate up to your mouth to get the last dregs of sauce, you know it's good! Next time, I think I WILL roast up a spaghetti squash to have with this simply because the shrimp would go a lot further with a filler like that...but for tonight, I shall revel in the decadence of straight-up shrimp in garlicky winey lemony butter sauce. Aww, yeah.