Served with Linguine and lots and lots of lemon...because It's Lauren, of Course!
Depending on your point of view, shrimp scampi can sound either really boring or really appealing. This recipe takes that pedestrian "shrimp with garlic and butter" and makes it sophisticated and scrumptious without sacrificing on the ease. The extra step of marinating the shrimp in grated garlic and olive oil for a short while is well worth it, as is frying some lemon slices in olive oil to provide a counterpoint to the strength of the garlic. If you prefer to serve this over slices of toasted, crusty bread instead of pasta, just skip the pasta instructions.
Essential equipment: cutting board; chef's knife or paring knife; microplane; large saucepan or stockpot; tongs; colander or strainer; wet measuring cup; measuring spoons; large sauté pan; wooden spoon
1 pound linguine 4 teaspoons salt, divided 1 pound large shrimp (about 2 dozen shrimp), peeled and deveined 6 tablespoons olive oil, divided 4 garlic cloves, divided
¼ cup dry white wine
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes 5 tablespoons unsalted butter ¼ cup chopped parsely leaves salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
1. In a medium mixing bowl, toss the shrimp with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and 1 teaspoon of salt. Grate three of the garlic cloves with a microplane and mix well to combine with the shrimp. Cover and place in the refrigerator for 20-30 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, slice the remaining garlic clove as finely as possible and set aside. Slice one of the two lemons into thin slices (circles) and set aside. Juice the second lemon and set the juice aside.
3. Place a large pot of water plus the remaining three teaspoons salt over high heat to bring to a boil.
4. Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook until al dente. Drain the pasta in a colander and shake the excess water. Transfer to a large mixing bowl and toss with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Set aside.
ILOC tip: if you have lemon olive oil, use that to toss the linguine to add that extra layer of lemon flavor.
5. Heat a large sauté pan over high heat. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil to the pan and swirl to coat. Place the lemon slices in a single in the pan and cook 1-2 minutes per side, until caramelized and the edges are golden brown. Remove the lemon slices from the pan and set aside.
6. Return the pan to the heat and add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Add the marinated shrimp to the pan in a single layer and cook for 1-2 minutes, just until the shrimp turns pink. Using tongs, turn each shrimp over to cook for one minute more until the other side turns pink. Remove the shrimp from the pan and set aside.
ILOC tip: by the time you have turned the last shrimp, it will be time to remove the first shrimp you turned. Use tongs to make this an easy and efficient task. It's all about technique not torture!
7. Add the sliced garlic and crushed red pepper to the pan and stir with a wooden spoon for one minute to soften without browning. Add the white wine and lemon juice, scraping the bottom of the pan to incorporate the fond into the sauce. Add the butter. Once the butter melts and foams, gently simmer the sauce over medium heat until reduced by half, for about five minutes.
8. Return the shrimp to the pan and cook over low heat for one minute more. Remove the pan from the heat.
9. Toss the linguine with half the chopped parsley. Place the shrimp on top of the tossed linguine and drizzle with the pan sauce. Arrange the caramelized lemon slices evenly distributed amongst the shrimp. Sprinkle with the remaining chopped parsley.
"The caramelized sliced lemons are not just for garnish; they can and should be eaten in their entirety. They provide a brightness and balance to the garlic and butter elements, the perfect compliment to the shrimp."
10. Serve immediately, with grated Parmesan if desired.
Makes 4 servings.