Thursday, January 5, 2012

The BEST Shrimp Scampi...Ever! Baked to Perfection In One Pan!

If I had to pick one food to eat every day for the rest of my life? It would be Bubba said best in Forrest Gump: "Shrimp is the fruit of the sea. You can barbeque it, boil it, broil it, bake it, saute it. There's, um, shrimp kebabs, shrimp creole, shrimp gumbo, pan fried, deep fried, stir fried. There's pineapple shrimp and lemon shrimp, coconut shrimp, pepper shrimp, shrimp soup, shrimp stew, shrimp salad, shrimp and potatoes, shrimp burger, shrimp sandwich...That's, that's about it." 

I think what 'ol Bubba was trying to say is that shrimp is very versatile...and delicious! But he didn't mention one of my personal favorite ways to cook shrimp: scampi-style, swimming in garlicky butter! My brother in law gave me Ina Garten's Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics cookbook for Christmas, and her easy-to-make baked shrimp scampi immediately caught my eye. I found jumbo shrimp on sale at my local grocery store yesterday, so I bought a pound and cooked up a batch of this AMAZING scampi for dinner last night. 

This scampi is as good as anything you'll ever get at a restaurant, and it's a snap to put together once you get the shrimp peeled. I gently tweaked the original recipe by adding a bit of fresh thyme and some grated parmesan to the herbed butter. I also broiled the scampi for 2-3 minutes when they were finished baking, just to give the dish a little extra crunch and color. This dish will absolutely knock your socks off!!!

Amazing Baked Shrimp Scampi
adapted from Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics

Step 1:  Peel and devein 1 lb. jumbo shrimp (15-20 per lb.), leaving the tail intact. Butterfly the shrimp so they will lay flat in the pan. Put the shrimp into a bowl and add the following ingredients: 2 tbs. white wine, 2 tbs. olive oil, 1 tsp. sea salt, and a few grinds of fresh black pepper. Stir to combine and set aside while you make the seasoned butter.

Step 2:  Preheat the oven to 425. Combine the following ingredients in a bowl: 3/4 stick softened butter, 2 grated or finely chopped garlic cloves, 1/2 a shallot (finely chopped), the zest of one lemon, the juice of 1/2 lemon, 2 tbs. chopped flat-leaf parsley, 1 tsp. finely chopped rosemary, the leaves from two sprigs thyme, a generous pinch of red pepper flakes, 1/3 cup grated parmesan, 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs, and 1 egg yolk. Using a sturdy spoon, stir until the mixture is thoroughly combined. You could also do this with a stand mixer if you prefer.

Step 3:  Arrange the shrimp in a shallow casserole dish. I found that for 1 lb. of shrimp, my Emile Henry enamel and clay pie pan worked out perfectly. Arrange the shrimp butterfly side down, with the tails pointing in toward the center. Pour any remaining olive oil-wine mixture over the shrimp. Crumble the butter-panko topping evenly on top of the shrimp.

Step 4:  Bake for 12 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through baking for even cooking. Turn the broiler on and broil for 2-3 minutes, until the topping is golden and bubbly. Keep a close eye on the scampi while it broils to make sure the shrimp don't burn. Remove from oven and let the dish cool for a few minutes before serving. I sprinkled the top with a bit more sea salt, black pepper, and a generous squirt of extra lemon just before plating. The scampi will look...and smell...amazing!

I served this scampi over linguine that I tossed with a couple tablespoons of butter, a grated clove of garlic, and a handful of grated parmesan. To say that this was amazing is an understatement! The flavors of the scampi and the pasta paired perfectly. There was so much flavor going on: the herbs, lemon, and garlic were predominant...but then that little bit of heat from the red pepper kicked in at the end. The panko was a great crunchy counterpoint as well.

I have to say that Ina never lets me down...her recipes are always spot on, and this one is easily one of my favorite Barefoot Contessa recipes. I think it ranks right up there with the Lemon-Thyme Roasted Chicken Breasts from last summer. The next time that jumbo shrimp are on sale again? I'll be making this recipe for sure!!!

1 comment:

  1. Ina's recipes are always spot on, you're right! This sounds absolutely amazing. Something I could totally eat the whole platter of! ha! Yum!!


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