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