Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Celebrating National Garlic Month with Garlicky Baked Shrimp Scampi

April is National Garlic Month, dedicated to appreciation of all things garlic. I'm all for celebrating the goodness of garlic, because it's one of my "go to" ingredients -- I use it nearly every day. The smell of garlic sautéing in butter or olive oil always makes my mouth water! Today, I'm sharing a recipe for Garlicky Baked Shrimp Scampi -- my spin on a delicious Barefoot Contessa Recipe. I doubled the amount of garlic that Ina's original recipe called for to really boost the garlic flavor. This baked scampi makes a perfect starter for a dinner party -- or a great main dish served with pasta. Once the garlic butter-panko mixture is placed on each shrimp, it bakes up golden-brown in a matter of minutes. This recipe's a keeper, folks!

Garlicky Baked Shrimp Scampi
adapted from Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics
  • 1 lb. jumbo shrimp (15-20 per lb.)
  • 2 tbs. white wine
  • 2 tbs. olive oil
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 3/4 stick salted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely minced or grated
  • 1 small shallot, minced
  • Zest and juice of one small lemon
  • 2 tbs. chopped flat-leaf parsley 
  • 1 tsp. finely chopped rosemary
  • Leaves from 2 sprigs of thyme
  • 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1/3 cup grated parmesan reggiano
  • 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 egg yolk
Step 1:  Peel and devein the shrimp, leaving the tail intact. Butterfly the shrimp so they will lay flat in the baking dish. Put the shrimp into a large mixing bowl and add the white wine, olive oil, and salt & pepper. Toss to combine and set aside in the fridge while you make the seasoned butter mixture.
Step 2:  Preheat the oven to 425. Combine the following ingredients in a bowl: softened butter, garlic cloves, shallot, lemon zest and juice, flat-leaf parsley, rosemary, thyme, red pepper flakes, parmesan, panko, and egg yolk. Using a sturdy spoon, stir until the butter 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 dish worked 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 the shrimp for 12-15 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through baking for even cooking. Just before serving, broil the scampi for 2-3 minutes, until the topping is golden and bubbly. Keep a close eye on the dish while it broils to make sure the shrimp don't burn. Remove the pan from oven and let it cool for a few minutes before serving -- that's just enough time to pour a glass of Riesling or other fruity white wine and toss together a simple salad! I sprinkled the top with a bit more sea salt, black pepper, and a generous squirt of extra lemon juice just before plating. The scampi will look...and smell...amazing!

I like to serve this scampi over linguine that's tossed with a couple tablespoons of butter, more grated garlic, and a handful of grated parmesan. The flavors of the scampi and the pasta paired perfectly together -- and the garlic flavor is prominent without being overpowering. 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. This is one of my favorite ways to prepare shrimp, so I hope you'll give it a try during the Spring and Summer shrimp season!

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