Bradley had a tradition with his grandmother that every Christmas the two of them would go to Red Lobster and dine on shrimp scampi and that would be his gift to her. It is one of her favorites and Bradley, much like me, loves all things seafood. A couple of Christmas' ago he was short on cash and decided to make scampi himself and have her over. It was actually our first Christmas back together and of course I was invited. Our company had paid for all of us to get the flu vaccination that day and I felt like complete crap, I went straight from work to the recliner in his living room and dozed in and out of consciousness. Well, he wasn't having the best day either. He had to stay late at work which meant dinner wasn't going to be ready on time, and the recipe he had found online from a "copy cat" website, left much to be desired. I think it went something like, "wine butter lemon and shrimp - bake at 400 degrees". I couldn't help him because of the whole dead to the world thing, and it was too late to find a new recipe, so we ate tough, tasteless shrimp and have joked about it ever since.
The following Valentine's Day, I decided to really wow him. We had just gotten engaged and were all in love and instead of him spending money taking me out, I wanted to show him how grateful I was to have him as a Valentine for the rest of my life. So our menu was simple: Filet Mignon wrapped in bacon with Burgundy mushrooms (which was special because it was the first dish I ever cooked for him), twice baked potatoes, salad, bruschetta and... shrimp scampi. I made it with jumbo shrimp and we each had 3 shrimp with our steak. It was divine, it was delightful, it was.... now my job to prepare the shrimp scampi every Christmas. Since our kitchen had been packed since Thanksgiving and we didn't get it unpacked until after new year's, Gran's Christmas present was a little belated.
I had spent almost a week researching scampi recipes and picking what I thought were the best qualities of each of them, to make into one ultimate recipe. I found that the one key ingredient was good wine. You could not skimp on the white wine. There are a million variations of white wine out there, so I just began reading labels until I found one that fit the dish.
It is hard to measure each ingredient because this is a dish that you need to tailor to the amount of guests you are having - in other words... do not get mad when you see the recipe.
I never thought I would be doing this, but here goes...
DeLa's Shrimp Scampi
recipe by me
enough shrimp for all your guests
salt n pepper
chopped green onions
fresh lime juice
Let's start with the wine selection. I spent Thursday night in the wine section of a food giant reading labels and let me just say, unless you want wine in a box or arbor mist.... find some where else to get your wine. Finally I picked up a riesling and started reading it, the first sentence grabbed me and I threw it into my buggy, "Lemon and lime will leap from your glass.....". Well we need the tastes of both in this dish! Once I got home and kept reading, it added that it was the perfect addition to "prawns hot off the grill". Is that the perfect wine for this dish or what?!
Of course you have to make sure it is good, because we all know that you should never cook with a wine that you would not drink...
Mmmm, yes, perfect.
Now you need to clean your shrimp. For the three of us, I bought 2 pounds of medium sized shrimp. I would prefer that they be de-veined and peeled, but again... I was at Food Giant. Just give them a good rinse
Peel them how you like and toss them into a large skillet.
You could leave the tails on for an added "vacation feel", but I chose not to this time.
Drizzle with olive oil, just enough to slightly cover each one, you don't want it to be too oily.
Then sprinkle kosher salt (or any kind of salt) and fresh ground pepper on the top - to your liking. Once you have enough, jump in hands first and toss them around making sure that each one gets a little bit of all three ingredients.
The next two ingredients are also very important - the garlic and green onions.
I know what some of you are saying, "I don't like to bite into an onion". Well, I promise that in this dish you won't. In fact, you have to actually hunt for an onion to eat in the sauce because they do not stick to the shrimp. The onions add flavor and color and that's it. No crunch, so onion haters - please do not omit them!
I roughly chopped about 3 green onions and minced a clove of garlic and threw them right on top of the shrimp.
Now, add the wine. You just want enough to reach the middle of your pile of shrimp, not enough to float them around.
Give it a good stir to get the garlic and onions covered in the wine, too.
Here comes the time where you can just walk away. Let them soak for 30 minutes or just however long you've got.
Once you've finished letting them soak, set the skillet on the eye, turn it on about medium and do a constant stir while they are cooking. You want to keep moving them around so they all cook evenly.
Once they are all pink, remove the skillet from the eye and squeeze a lime over them.
Give the dish another good stir to blend in the lime juice... and there you have it. A perfect shrimp scampi.
Blog number two.... it might explain my current lack of enthusiasm for blog number 1