May 10, 2010

Shrimp Scampi Fresca

I think Kempton might have Lyme's disease. He has some of the symptoms and they are getting The earliest I can get him into the vet is tomorrow at 2pm, and in the meantime I am totally freaking out. In an effort to not lose my mind, I am going to tell you a story and give you a recipe. I doubt it will work (to keep me from losing my mind), but you shouldn't let that deter you from making this delicious, lemony shrimp scampi pasta.

Unless you don't like lemons. Because there is lots of lemony flavor in this. It's bold. It's yummy. Although - on a side note - Steve doesn't love citrus flavors (especially lemon and lime), but he loved this. So stop being a sissy.

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away - I was a server (fancy term for waitress) at a restaurant called The Oceanic. The Oceanic is situated on Wrightsville Beach on the coast of North Carolina, with a big pier going out into the ocean and tons of fresh fish and seafood on the menu. Delicious. I always used my employee discount to have a meal either before or after my shift...and I usually got the same few things: blackened fish sandwich, grilled shrimp with steamed veggies, or shrimp scampi fresca. The first two are very simple to make at home. The scampi was a challenge though, because it was unlike any scampi I ever had a fresh lemon taste, and delicious cherry tomatoes. I tried (unsuccessfully) to make it a few times after I first moved back to MN. Now that I am older, wiser, prettier, funnier, and a much better cook, I decided to tackle the challenge of re-creating this yummy dish. I think I have recently hit the jackpot. And for the record, I am a better cook than I was back then...but that's about it.

Either way - I finally mastered this. I am already looking forward to making it again. I think it shall become my "house dish", sort of like how Kendall Jackson Chardonnay has become my house wine. Or maybe I'll just eat it all myself and not let anyone come over when I make it...and then I'll hoard all the wine too, and die really fat, drunk and alone. Yup - that's the new plan.

Not a good idea? is the recipe. And yes, I will make it for you sometime. Enjoy! 

Shrimp Scampi Fresca (serves 4)

  • zest and juice of 2 lemons, divided
  • one pound of shrimp, peeled and deveined. I used 16 - 20 count shrimp
  • 1/2 of a medium onion, chopped finely
  • 3 - 6 cloves of garlic (depending on the size and your taste), minced
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine (I used Kendall Jackson Chardonnay. Surprise!)
  • 5 tablespoons of butter, divided
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 pint of cherry tomatoes
  • kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper
  • crushed red pepper flakes, to taste
  • 1/2 box of thin linguine or angel hair pasta
  • parm cheese for garnish
Toss about 2 tablespoons lemon juice and one tablespoon of olive oil with raw shrimp and cherry tomatoes, sprinkle with salt, pepper, and some red pepper flakes.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Cook pasta according to package directions.

Meanwhile, heat remaining 2 tablespoons of oil in a saute pan (or whatever kind of pan you want), along with 3 tablespoons of butter. Saute onion and garlic until tender. Add the wine and remaining lemon zest and juice. Cook down until it starts to thicken...if necessary, add remaining 2 tablespoons of butter. While sauce is cooking down, spread shrimp and tomatoes on a baking sheet and put in oven for 5 minutes or until shrimp is just barely done. Check sauce for seasonings and add salt, pepper and crushed red pepper if desired. Add shrimp and tomatoes to sauce, then toss with pasta*. Top with some grated parm cheese. YUM!

*Be careful not to add too much pasta. If you are nervous, just toss in a half at a don't want a lack of sauce, but the sauce is pretty flavorful so you have some room to work there. I want to eat this right now.

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