Shrimp Scampi with Basmati Rice

Shrimp are always welcome in my house.  There are many different ways to prepare shrimp, so we never get bored with them.  Shrimp Scampi is an Italian-American dish that can be found in almost every Italian or Sea Food Restaurant.

I’m not sure how the name of the dish, Shrimp Scampi came about, because it is a bit redundant; in fact, scampi are langoustines or lobster-like crustaceans found in Italy. Our American version is modeled after an Italian dish made with olive oil, garlic, onions and white wine, but we substitute the scampi with shrimp. No matter what the origins, this is a delicious meal.

This recipe is easy and fast to prepare, especially if you buy the shrimp already deveined.  The rice takes about 25 minutes to prepare, but even so you can have dinner on the table in about 45 minutes.

Ingredients for Basmati Rice:
1 1/2 – cups basmati rice
1/3 – cup diced shallot
2 – tbls. canola oil
3 – cups chicken stock
1/2 – tsp. salt

1/2 – tsp. Adobo seasoning
Fresh ground black pepper to taste

Directions:
Heat canola oil in a large skillet then add the diced shallot and cook on medium heat until tender, about 2 minutes. Add the rice and stir to coat each grain with the oil.

Cook about 3-4 minutes until the rice starts to toast. Stir it often to prevent it from burning.

Now add the chicken stock, salt, black pepper and Adobo. Stir and cover with a lid to bring to a boil. (I use a low-sodium chicken stock. Go easy on the salt, you can always add more later.) Once it is boiling, reduce the heat to a simmer and let cook until the liquid is absorbed. This takes about 20 minutes. The rice should be tender and flakey.

Take off the heat and set aside until the shrimp are ready.

Ingredients for Shrimp:
1 – lb. extra large shrimp with tails, cleaned and deveined. (Buy them already cleaned and deveined from the market)
4 – cloves garlic
1/4 – cup olive oil
1/4 – cup unsalted butter
1/4 – cup diced shallot
1/3 – cup dry white wine
1/4 – tsp. red pepper flake
1 – lemon
Fresh Italian flat parsley
Salt to taste
Fresh ground black pepper to taste

Directions:
Heat the oil and butter in a large skillet, then add the garlic cloves and sauté until they begin to soften, about 3 minutes. Be sure not to let them burn. Meanwhile, rinse the shrimp in cold water and drain. Once the garlic is ready add the shrimp and sprinkle with a little salt and ground black pepper.

Cook until they just start to turn pink. Stir often to cook all sides. This should take only about 4 minutes.

With a slotted spoon, remove the shrimp to a bowl and set aside, but leave the garlic in the skillet. Add the shallot and red pepper flake, and sauté about 2 minutes until they start to soften.


Now add the juice of the lemon and the wine and cook about 2 minutes until the alcohol cooks out.  Add about one tablespoon of butter and return the shrimp to the skillet.

Toss and cook about one minute more. Sprinkle with fresh chopped parsley.

Serve the shrimp over the rice and drizzle the sauce over the shrimp and the rice.

Makes 4 servings.

Serve immediately.

Buon appetito!




Linguine with Shrimp, Grape Tomatoes in a Light Cream Sauce

img_1084

Two of my favorite things put together….pasta and shrimp. I created this recipe a few years ago when I was having some friends over for dinner. I wanted to create a recipe with a nice balance of sweet tomato and savory capers enhanced by a light cream sauce. I find that the half and half adds just the right amount of richness without being too heavy. Give it a try. It is easy and quick to make.

Ingredients:
1 – lb. large shrimp, cleaned and deveined
2 – cloves garlic
2 – tbls. tomato paste
1/4 – tsp. crushed red pepper
3/4 – cup white wine (use a good dry table wine that you like to drink)
2 – tbls. capers
1 – cup grape tomatoes (cut in half)
3/4 – cup half and half
Salt
Ground black pepper
1 – lb. linguine
1 – tbls. chopped fresh parsley
Pecorino or Parmesan cheese (optional)

Directions:
Heat a large pot of water on the stove for the pasta. When the water comes to a boil, add 2 tsp. salt and the linguine. Cook until al dente (a little bite) or according to the package directions.

In the meantime, prepare the shrimp and sauce. It does not take long to make, so the sauce should be ready by the time the pasta is cooked. Rinse off the shelled and deveined shrimp in cold water (I buy the shrimp already deveined; this saves a lot of time). Dry them off on paper towel and then sprinkle with salt and black pepper to taste. In a large skillet, heat 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil on a medium flame. Peel the garlic and smash it with the side of a large kitchen knife. Add it to the hot oil and sauté about 2 minutes, then add the shrimp. Stir often and cook until the shrimp start to turn pink, about 2 minutes.

Now add the crushed red pepper and tomato paste. Stir the tomato paste and let cook about 1 minute before adding the wine. Add the wine and stir to deglaze the pan and incorporate the tomato paste. Turn the flame down to low and let cook until the wine is reduced by half. This takes about 1 1/2 minutes. Stir often and watch so that it does not all evaporate. Remove just the shrimp and set aside.

Add to the skillet the grape tomatoes and capers and cook about 2 minutes. If the capers are the large variety, chopped them before adding. Next add the half and half. Stir and let cook about 2 minutes more. Return the shrimp to the sauce, stir and cook about 1 minute more to finish cooking the shrimp. Add about 1/8 tsp. ground black pepper and salt to taste. Taste the sauce before adding salt because the capers are salty. Before you add the pasta remove the garlic cloves from the sauce.

When the pasta is ready, drain it and add to the skillet with the shrimp and sauce. Mix through and top off with one teaspoons chopped parsley. Serve immediately.

Buon appetito!

Note: In the Italian tradition, cheese is not served with seafood; however, if you want to add grated pecorino or parmesan cheese then please do.




Crispy Fried Shrimp

fried-shrimp

Fried shrimp is one of my favorite fun foods.  As a young girl I looked forward to those special occasions when we went out for dinner so that I could order the fried shrimp.  I never got tired of eating it.  With just a little effort it is possible to have fried shrimp at home that are better than any I have eaten in a restaurant.

In this recipe I use panko breadcrumbs, which make the shrimp extra crispy.  I use jumbo shrimp, but you can use smaller ones if you like, but I would not go smaller than the “large” shrimp.  Typically I serve it with cocktail sauce and tartar sauce.  There are simple recipes included below.

Ingredients:

1 – lb. jumbo shrimp (You can buy them de-veined with the tails on.  This will save you some work.)
Salt to taste
Black pepper to taste
1 – cup all purpose flour
2 – eggs
1/4 – cup milk

Breadcrumb Ingredients:

2 1/2 – cups of Panko bread crumbs
1 1/4 – tsp. oregano
2 – tbls. fresh parsley chopped
1/2 – tsp. salt
1/2 – tsp. black pepper
1 1/4 – tsp. garlic powder
1 1/4 – tsp. Adobo Seasoning
1/3 – tsp. Cayenne pepper
1/4 – cup pecorino romano cheese
1/2 – tsp. fresh thyme (optional)

Mix all of the above ingredients in a large bowl.

Directions:

Prepare the breadcrumbs and set aside.  Rinse the shrimp and pat dry with paper towel. With a sharp knife, butterfly the shrimp.  Make a slit in the middle of the end of each shrimp, about half way through the length of the shrimp.  There are two reasons for doing this; one, they look nicer butterflied, and two, it flattens them out so that they can be fried in less oil.

img_0372

Place the butterflied shrimp on a plate and sprinkle a little salt and black pepper on both sides.

Now, set up for the breading process.  Take two large plates — on one place the flour, on the other put 1/2 of the breadcrumbs.  In a bowl, whisk 2 eggs and 1/4 cup milk.

img_0386

Dredge the shrimp first into the flour, then the egg mixture, and finally into the breadcrumbs.  Cover completely and press down on each side to help the crumbs to adhere to the shrimp.  If you have time, it is helpful to let the breaded shrimp rest in the refrigerator for about 20 minutes.  This helps the breading to adhere.

img_0387

Pour enough canola oil into the bottom of a large skillet to about a 1/8″ depth.  Heat on a medium-high flame.  Do not add shrimp until the oil is hot.  You know the oil is ready when you drop a few bread crumbs in and they sizzle.

Do not over crowd the pan.  Shrimp cook very quickly.  Cook them about 1 1/2 minutes on each side or until golden brown.  If they are browning too quickly, lower the flame a little.  If you are using smaller shrimp, the cook time will be less.

1 lb. of shrimp will serve 3-4 people.
Serve immediately.

Cocktail Sauce:
1/2 – cup Heinz chili sauce
1/2 – cup ketchup
1 – tsp. hot sauce (more if you like)
2 – tbls. horseradish (less is you like)
1 – tbls. fresh lemon juice

Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl.  Keep chilled until ready to use.

Tartar Sauce:
1/2 – cup mayonnaise
2 – tbls. sweet relish
1/2 – tsp. hot sauce
1 – tbls. fresh lemon juice
Pinch of black pepper

Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl.  Keep chilled until ready to use.