entrees, savory
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Lemon Basil Shrimp Scampi

Whole foods has this great concept of “flash sales” where things are a reasonable price for like, 5 minutes.  I walked in on Friday afternoon to one of these sales at the seafood counter – 10-15ct shrimp for $14.99 (stellar by Whole Foods and Boston standards).  I picked some up without purpose and figured they’d find a use within the next couple days.  I mean, how could I say no? Look at these beauties!

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I thought about cooking them Friday, but we’re in the midst of a painfully miserable humid-soaked heat wave.  It was decided cooking was out of the question Friday night and we had fro-yo for dinner.  Sorry I’m not sorry.

Tonight proved finally comfortable enough to cook these beasts of the sea.  I don’t think the weather is all that much better, but I pushed myself out on a 6 mile run (more on that later) and pasta seemed like the right answer.  When you add a pasta craving to the fact that I have giant shrimp in the fridge and a new basil olive oil that’s begging to be used, I caved and put some water on to boil while I went to clean my bargain seafood find.

I wish this lil guy had enough to him to warrant cooking.  But given the fact that he was about the size of my thumbnail (and missing all of his legs) I decided that his only contribution to the meal would be a photo-op. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have a little startled moment when I saw eyes peeking up at me among the headless shrimp.

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These shrimp were definitely sold “As Is” with no cleaning done to speak of. Ok, their heads were off (mostly) and that was a help.  I don’t really mind cleaning shrimp.  What I do mind is people that don’t clean shrimp and then act like you’re the ass that gets offended when you have to pull out the poo-vein (call it whatever you want, it looks like a seafood colon to me).  I long ago decided there are two kinds of cooks in this world – those that will clean their shrimp properly and the worst people in the world.  It takes 5 minutes, so just do it. Please.

Remove the heads (if not already gone) and shells.  Some people leave the tail on (that’s up to you) but I went for the ready-to-eat cleaning method and removed anything that wasn’t meat.  Take a small paring knife and place it at the base of the fish where the head had been removed.

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There’s a natural cavity to follow all the way up the body.  Don’t cut too deep in. If you keep the blade facing towards you, you’ll only cut open as much as necessary.

Clean out the ‘vein’ which I’m still pretty convinced is code for ‘poo canal’ (I’m hoping if I gross you out enough you’ll never served uncleaned shrimp to guests, is it working?).

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Isn’t that better??

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Set your cleaned shrimp aside while you prep your sauce and pasta.

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These are the remaining ingredient that made the cut tonight – minus the salt and pepper.  I assume you assume they’re a given at this point.

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Put a pot of water on to boil.  Once it’s boiling, cook your pasta (4 servings, about 8oz) you’re using per the package instructions.  It should be done just slightly before the sauce and shrimp are ready for it to join the mix.  I used a rice/corn pasta blend, being gluten free and all, but use whatever you want.  Add olive oil and salt to the water, just because it’s the right thing to do.

In a large skillet, combine:

  • 4 T Butter
  • 1/2 cup diced white Onion
  • 3-4 Cloves of Garlic (I love garlic, so I used 4. Large.)

Melt everything together and sautee over medium heat until the butter is melted, the onions are translucent, and the garlic has made your kitchen smell amazing.

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Add about 2 Tablespoons of Basil Olive Oil.  Regular EVOO is fine, but let me just tell you, if you can find infused it will make your life better.  I’m pretty sure you can buy this stuff online.  Hold that thought – I’m totally sure you can buy this online.  Do it. Now. You’re welcome.

20130707-230200.jpgAdd your shrimp and crank up the heat.

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When the skillet is sizzling hot, add about 1/3 cup of a dry white wine (tonight I used Chenin Blanc – an impulse buy at Trader Joe’s).

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And your citrus – the juice of one lemon.  Use two lemons if you love that flavor. I only had one.

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Cook this down for about 5-7 minutes, letting the liquid become all concentrated and saucy.

Take your pasta that you should have probably drained somewhere along the way in making your scampi sauce and add it to the pan.

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Toss it around until the noodles are coated with the sauce and the shrimp are evenly distributed.

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Plate up, garnish with basil (fresh would be better) and enjoy.

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Serves 4 polite people at a dinner party or one hungry post-run girl and one very hungry post-work man.

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