Cooking On A Budget: Shrimp Scampi

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Shrimp Scampi


Fresh shrimp is not easy to come by. In fact, through research I found out that quite a few higher end restaurants use frozen shrimp. Due to the amount of time at sea, it's necessary for shrimping boats to have freezer capabilities on board the boat. So once they are caught they are immediately frozen in the hopes of retaining a "fresh" caught flavor.  However, fresh shrimp is rarely, if ever, found in our local grocery stores and generally available only to high end restaurants and those restaurant chefs who insist on the finest ingredients. They pay the higher price to have them shipped over night to their establishments, or they have local seafood markets that get them right off the boats. Shrimp are farmed in various countries, including here in the states.

For us, the average consumer, we buy previously frozen and thawed shrimp from our local grocery stores or those that are frozen at sea and bagged according to shrimp count per pound. The package of shrimp is most likely to be chemically treated for shelf life and can often be very disappointing. You may get a background taste that is not pleasant to the palette. Be sure to really check out the bag of shrimp and look not only for the size and count but where the shrimp came from and what chemicals were used.

When you get the shrimp home, defrost them in cold water. Prep them and make sure you give them a number of risings and then dry them thoroughly before using in your recipes.

You may not think of shrimp as a budget meal and I don't generally view as that either. However, when you get a two pound bag of 16- 20 count shrimp for$15.98 which is the same price you would pay for a small roast beef or pot roast you can live a little. Make it your one meal splurge of the week. The nice thing is depending on the size of your family you get one, two or even three meals out of the shrimp.

This is my basic shrimp scampi that I have made over and over.  The addition of crushed red pepper flakes and white wine brings the dish up notch. I used dried parsley flakes; however I do prefer fresh chopped parsley over dried. That's why I can't wait for my herb garden to grow!
  • 1 lb. shrimp
  • 6 garlic cloves - finely minced
  • 1 stick of butter
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/4 cup white wine - use one you would drink
  • 1 tbsp. fresh or dried parsley
  • granulated garlic to taste (used for marinating the shrimp)
  • 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • salt and black pepper to taste
  1. Prep the shrimp, peel, de-vein and rinse the shrimp well. Pat them dry and add them to a glass bowl. Generously sprinkle granulated garlic over the shrimp and mix well. Refrigerate for about 20 minutes (marinate) and pull the shrimp back out to come to room temperature when you are ready to use them.
  2. In a deep skillet melt your butter and olive oil over low heat. Add in the garlic to infuse with the butter. Bring the heat up to medium and add in the white wine, stir. Let this bubble for a couple of minutes to burn off the alcohol.
  3. Reduce the heat if necessary so the garlic does not burn. Toss in the red pepper flakes, stir and add in the shrimp. At this point you could add in salt and a pinch of black pepper to taste.
  4. Bring the heat up to medium low, add in the parsley to the shrimp. Stirring for about 5-8 minutes until the shrimp are cooked through.

When the shrimp are done, serve them over cooked rice, or some type of pasta - angel hair or spaghetti would work. You could also skip both of these suggestions and go with a nice crunchy rustic bread to sop up all of the deliciousness on the plate.

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