January 15, 2010

Maine Shrimp Scampi

I think I had a traumatic experience with shrimp scampi when I was younger. Maybe a less-than-fresh dish of it made me a little queasy once, but whatever it was, I have a bad association with this dish.

That said, I really want to like it- and sometimes I just crave buttery, salty, garlicky, spicy shrimp pasta. Inspired by Amuse-Bouche for Two's Fettuccine with Sardines and Bread Crumbs, I set out to make a shrimp scampi that wasn't too salty or heavy and, of course, one that didn't turn my stomach!

After purchasing a lemon, parsley, shrimp, shallots, and pasta, while knowing I had panko, olive oil, white wine, garlic, and chili flakes at home, I figured the dish would be pretty hard to mess up.

I sauteed the shallots, garlic, and chilies in a healthy pour of olive oil, dumped in the shrimp and sauteed a bit more. The shrimp released a lot of liquid, which made me nervous, since I was planning to add more liquid (white wine) still.

But I pressed ahead, added the wine, a squeeze of half a lemon, diced parsley, and seasoned with salt to taste. I let the liquid cook down a bit, but didn't want to risk overcooking the shrimp, so I ladled the shrimp and sauce over some linguini and topped with some toasted panko and a pat of salted butter.

And whatdya know, I had done it! The sauce was great, not too salty or garlicky, not too rich or greasy, but light, lemony, and spicy. The bread crumbs were a great idea (Thanks Amuse-Bouche!), as they added a nice crunchiness throughout the dish- kinda like when you get tempura flake in your sushi roll, yum.

If you're uncomfortable winging this dish like I described above, check out the Epicurious recipe I used for inspiration.