Scampi Over Linguini, My Way

Whenever our local Stop & Shop has frozen easy-peel jumbo shrimp on sale, I snag a 2-lb bag for quick weeknight meals to be served either as an Asian stir-fry or an Italian scampi.  Tonight it’s scampi my way, with the addition of chopped grape tomatoes and shallots to the classic dish, and lobster broth in lieu of white wine.

In both cases, both Asian and Italian, the dishes come together quickly, so it’s a good idea to set up your mise en place instead of grabbing and measuring ingredients while cooking.  This will avoid the pitfall of overcooking your shrimp, and ensuring that it all comes out with taste and texture that are restaurant quality.

Peeling and refrigerating the shrimp early in the day is a time-saver as well, and I like to brine them for just 3-5 minutes in a solution of 2 cups water/1 tbsp salt, then rinse and pat dry before refrigerating.  I find this helps improve the texture, and does not impart any additional saltiness.

All that’s needed to round out this meal is a salad of mixed greens and olives and some crusty bread…or that focaccia I made two days ago.

SCAMPI OVER LINGUINI MY WAY

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Mise en place set to go, including my vintage Perrier Jouet bottle which I’ve used for EVOO since 1984

INGREDIENTS:

1 lb jumbo shrimp (16-20 per pound), peeled and prepped as described above

2 tbsp each EVOO and unsalted butter

4 medium cloves garlic & 1 medium shallot minced

1 cup quartered grape tomatoes, gently squeezed to remove excess liquid and seeds

1/2 cup lobster broth (1/2 tsp Better Than Bouillon brand dissolved in 1/2 cup hot water)

3/4 tsp kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

pinch of red pepper flakes

1/3 cup chopped Italian parsley

Freshly squeezed juice of 1/2 lemon, about 1-1/2 tbsp

8 ounces good linguini, such as Dececco brand, cooked al dente

PREPARATION:

In a 12″ cast iron skillet, melt butter and olive oil over medium heat.  Add garlic and shallots and sauté about 1 minute.  Add broth, salt, red pepper flakes generous grinding of black pepper, and tomatoes and simmer until broth is reduced by half.  Add shrimp and sauté until they just turn pink, about 2 minutes per side.  Stir in parsley and lemon juice and serve immediately over linguini.

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Gingery Shrimp Stir Fry with Snow Peas

It’s been a while since Ronicooks has done an Asian dish, and once I saw that a 2 lb bag of frozen 21-25 per pound easy-peel shrimp were on sale for $11.98 at Stop & Shop yesterday – the deal was sealed.

Searching my favorite NYT cooking site for inspiration, I came across a dish called Stir-Fried Shrimp with Snow Peas and Ginger.  However, the recipe called for only 1 paltry tsp of ginger and 2 tbsp of garlic.  Also, not nearly enough sauce, and nothing for a bit of heat.

So I did what I usually do – used it for basic idea and made it better.  I always add way more ginger to any recipe calling for it (the exception being baked goods).  Doubled the sauce, added much more ginger and scallions and way less garlic, and added a bit of heat.

The photo is from the NYT site, since I wanted to serve this piping hot from the wok and not waste time with photography.  The recipe, however, is almost entirely my own.  Please to visualize this with more sauce and presence of slivered scallions, over a bed of jasmine rice:

GINGERY SHRIMP STIR FRY WITH SNOW PEAS 

SERVES 2

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INGREDIENTS:

The shrimp: 24 jumbo shrimp shelled and deveined (1-1.25 lbs), brined for only 5 minutes in 2 cups water with 1 tbsp salt – then rinsed and patted dry

The veggies: 6 ounces snow peas with strings removed and 1/2 cup scallions thinly sliced on the diagonal

Sauce: 2/3 cup chicken broth combined with 1 tbsp lite soy sauce, 4 tsp saki, 1-1/2 tsp sugar, 1/4 tsp white pepper, 1 tsp Chinese chili sauce or Sriracha, and 1 tbsp cornstarch

Aromatics: 1/4 cup minced ginger root and 2 plump garlic cloves minced

Cooking oil: about 3 tbsp peanut oil or other vegetable oil – not olive oil

PREPARATION:

Set up your mise en place.  Prep the shrimp and refrigerate.  Make the sauce in a measuring cup and keep a chopstick in it for stirring up the cornstarch if it settles.  Get your veggies and aromatics prepped.

When ready for cooking – heat a large wok and add 2 tbsp of the oil.  Add the shrimp and stir fry until they’re pink, 2-3 minutes.  Add remaining tbsp oil with the aromatics and stir-fry another few seconds to combine.  Add the snow peas and stir fry until they’re bright green but still al dente, about a minute.  Stir in the sauce mixture, swirling it around the sides of the wok.  Stir fry until it’s thickened, stir in the scallions and serve.  Very nice over a simple jasmine rice.  You wouldn’t find any better at your favorite Chinese restaurant.