Shrimp Scampi

This dish is famous for two reasons: It’s incredibly delicious and ridiculously easy.
TIME 20 minutes
MAKES 4 servings
⅓ cup olive oil, or more as needed
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1½ pounds medium or large shrimp, peeled
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice or white wine
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves

1 Put the olive oil in a large skillet over low heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until it just turns golden, 2 or 3 minutes.

2 Raise the heat to medium-high and add the shrimp, along with a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Spread them out in an even layer.

3 When the shrimp turn pink on one side, after 2 or 3 minutes, stir to turn them over. Continue cooking and stirring as necessary until the shrimp are pink all over and just barely translucent inside, another 2 or 3 minutes. Add a few drops of oil if the pan ever seems too dry.

4 Stir in the lemon juice and 2 tablespoons water and cook for another 30 seconds to thicken the sauce. Stir in the parsley and serve.

  • Pan-Cooked Shrimp with Garlic, Cumin, and Paprika: Skip the parsley and use all water or wine instead of the lemon juice. In Step 2, stir in 1 teaspoon ground cumin and 1½ teaspoons paprika along with the shrimp.
  • Garlic Shrimp with Tomatoes and Cilantro: Double the amount of garlic. In Step 2, add 4 chopped roma (plum) tomatoes to the skillet along with the shrimp. Use chopped fresh cilantro leaves instead of the parsley and lime juice instead of the lemon juice. The shrimp will take an extra minute or two to get pink.

  • The advantage of peeling your own shrimp is that you have the makings of great stock. Freeze the shells if you’re not going to make a batch in a day or so.
  • The best way to tell whether shrimp is perfectly cooked is to slice into it. The flesh should be an opaque white all the way through, but not rubbery. If anything, err on the side of slight undercooking; the residual heat will finish cooking the shrimp before it gets to the table.

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