Roger and I had some friends over for dinner recently. Since I knew they have been following a Zone/Atkins-like diet consisting primarily of protein and vegetables, I wanted to make a protein-based appetizer. I decided shrimp scampi would fit the bill, and it did—ever so deliciously!
Although I’ve made traditional Italian shrimp scampi served with spaghetti for over 30 years, I had never thought to serve it minus the spaghetti as an appetizer. A recent trip to a favorite tapas restaurant where they serve a Spanish version of shrimp scampi made me wonder why I hadn’t made it as an appetizer before.
I was browsing through my recipes and noticed a “spicy shrimp” appetizer taken from The Silver Palate Cookbook and saw that it was almost identical to the way I’ve been making shrimp scampi all these years with the exceptions being that Rosso and Lukins added shallots to the mix and used dill rather than parsley. I thought the shallots sounded like a good addition, and the recipe had the added advantage of quantifying ingredients since I’ve never measured the butter, oil, or garlic when I’ve made it.
The scampi was absolutely scrumptious, and I could have been happy with just the shrimp and a salad and called it dinner. It’s a good thing all I made was just a pound of shrimp—otherwise, that’s exactly what would have happened!
One year ago: Cream-allini Soup
Shrimp Scampi Appetizer
- 1 lb. large raw shrimp
- 2 tbl. sweet butter
- 1 tbl. olive oil
- 1 tbl. finely minced garlic
- 2 tbl. finely minced shallots
- salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 2 tbl. lemon juice, or more, to taste
- 2 tbl. finely chopped fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley
Peel and devein shrimp. In a large skillet over low heat, melt butter with olive oil. Add garlic and shallots and sauté for 2 minutes without browning. Add shrimp, increase heat slightly, and cook shrimp for 3 minutes, or until just done to taste. Add salt and pepper to taste and toss well. Remove to a bowl, scraping in all the sauce. Add lemon juice and parsley; toss together well. Adjust seasonings to taste.
The scampi can be served warm, at room temperature, or refrigerated and served cold. You just have to consider logistics if you want to serve them warm because you need to sauté the shrimp and serve immediately. In that case, I would skip the skewers and just plate them. Serving the shrimp warm would work best for a smaller informal group with an easy main entrée that didn’t need a lot of attention. (I served my shrimp at room temperature.)
Serve as a first course or on the ends of long bamboo skewers as an appetizer. Makes 4 servings.