So What’s for Dinner?
As I critiqued the hillside foliage and distressed over the ponds being lower than I could ever remember, I thumbed through my file of seafood recipes. Tom and I were cooking at the farm for just the two of us. He’d brought shrimp from St. Louis, giving me an excuse to make a dish that I cook far too seldom: Shrimp Scampi.
An Italian Import
I settled on Melissa Clark’s recipe from the New York Times. We can thank Italian immigrants for popularizing what they called scampi. They made the dish in their home country with langoustine, a tiny lobster-like crustacean. In America the newcomers had to settle for shrimp, but combined the names: shrimp and scampi.
For Goodness Sake
The few ingredients in Melissa Clark’s recipe (shrimp, butter, white wine, scallions, lemon juice, and noodles) can be found in most kitchens. Well, maybe not the shrimp, although you might find some hiding among your freezer treasures.
Some cooks go with as few ingredients as olive oil, shrimp and wine. Others jazz up the recipe with bread crumbs, mashed anchovies, tomatoes and/or tarragon. It’s a dish open to many interpretations.
3 Ways to Up the Flavor
Even though the recipe is incredibly quick and easy, there are some flavor secrets worth noting:
- Use fresh, shell-on shrimp. But don’t toss the shells. Sauté them in a sauce pan along with a bit of butter and olive oil. Add a 1/2 cup, or so, of white wine and let the mixture simmer for at least 10 minutes, or more. The highly flavored shells will impart their goodness into the wine. Strain and add the wine to the shrimp, according to the recipe.
- Don’t overcook the shrimp. Just let them swish around in the butter until they’re slightly pink. If you overcook them, they shrivel up and look like miniature rubber tires and taste the same.
- When the noodles have finished cooking, add a few tablespoons of the pasta water to the shrimp concoction. Pasta water has starch, that helps the sauce relax and adhere to the noodles.
All’s Well That Ends Well
- Embrace Kindness
- Have Fun with Little Things
- Stay Strong