I remember my birthday during 7th grade. My parents took me and 3 friends to dinner at Red Lobster. I can’t remember what I ate, but we did get a virgin fish bowl cocktail, complete with little lobster necklaces as garnish. Of course your first thought when thinking of Red Lobster is most likely the cheddar bay biscuits. Your second thought is probably shrimp scampi, which comes in that cute little warm dish. All those little shrimp doused in garlicky butter makes you want to forget your table manners and lick your fingers!
Fast forward many years, and I believe I have mastered the perfect shrimp scampi. In my opinion, the secret to good scampi is a good quick sear, which can only occur if you dry the shrimp well, otherwise they will steam. Here I sear them in garlic- and shallot-flavored butter and olive oil, then make a quick pan sauce with, you guessed it, more garlic. You get the sweet cooked garlic flavor but also a fresher, hotter garlic flavor. I used Primal Palate Seafood Seasoning to add even more herb and garlic flavor, but you could also use other seafood seasonings such as the classic Old Bay. Be sure to watch the sodium level for a different seasoning. I found I didn’t need any extra salt because the Seafood Seasoning has pink Himalayan salt. Between the seasoning and the cooked aromatics, my version is just as finger-licking good as I remember the original being!
If there is a time to use mise en place, this recipe surely is the place because it comes together fast! Even though you can throw it together on a weeknight, there is no sacrifice in flavor. This could be a great main course over veggie noodles or cauliflower rice, but also a great party appetizer with the tail-on shrimp. I probably wouldn’t use it to impress a date because the heavy garlic may preclude any smooching, unless you’re into that sort of thing.
Sizzling Shrimp Scampi
1 lb uncooked shrimp, de-veined and tail-on
1 1/2 tsp Primal Palate Seafood Seasoning
1 tbsp butter
2 tbsp olive oil
6 cloves garlic (2 minced, 4 grated)
1 large shallot, minced
pinch red chili flakes
Zest and juice of 1 large lemon
1 cup dry white wine (I used Chloe Chardonnay)
1 tbsp minced fresh parsley
1 tbsp minced fresh chives
1. Pat shrimp dry with paper towel; season with Seafood Seasoning.
2. In a large saute pan, heat butter and 1 tbsp of the oil over medium heat. Add the minced garlic and shallot and stir-fry until fragrant and slightly golden. Add shrimp and cook on both sides until opaque; set aside.
3. Add remaining tbsp of oil and the four cloves of garlic, lemon zest, and red pepper flakes. Cook quickly, about 30 seconds, then add wine to the pan. Scrape up any browned bits. Reduce over medium-high heat until liquid is slightly thickened. Season sauce to taste with fresh lemon juice. Return shrimp to pan and coat with sauce. Toss with parsley and chives, pour into a warmed serving dish, just like Red Lobster, and enjoy!
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