Easy Shrimp Scampi

Story by Karyl Henry of Karyl’s Kulinary Krusade

When I moved to Oklahoma in 2007, I refused to eat any seafood for the first year. Having grown up in Maryland, I couldn’t bring myself to eat seafood in a landlocked state. Eventually, I gave in and started buying frozen seafood mainly at Sam’s Club.

Shrimp has almost always been one of my favorite types of seafood. It cooks fast and is very versatile. Shrimp Fried Rice is my favorite thing to make with leftover rice from an Asian restaurant. And one of my favorite recent recipes is Spicy Garlic Shrimp Pasta.

While I do have a few shrimp recipes on the blog, I make them over and over again so it can get boring. So this is the perfect opportunity to expand my collection, with an Easy Shrimp Scampi.

WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS

  • It’s easy to make, and incredibly flavorful.
  • You can serve the shrimp over pasta, with crusty bread, or keep it lower-carb and serve on its own.
  • Homemade shrimp stock takes the dish to new levels.

TIPS FOR BUYING SHRIMP

  • Frozen shrimp is almost always fresher than shrimp at the seafood counter. When fishermen get to the dock, they immediately put the shrimp into ice, freezing them very soon after coming out of the water. The shrimp remains frozen for every step of the process until you’re ready to thaw it. At most seafood counters, you have no way of knowing when the shrimp was thawed.
  • If you have a fishmonger that gets daily deliveries, or you are lucky enough to live near a market that sells products off the dock, then absolutely buy fresh! 
  • Shrimp size is determined by the number of shrimp per pound. For example, a label of 31/35 means there are 31-35 of these shrimp per pound. Ignore the size name (like large/XL/jumbo) because brands can name sizes differently.
  • To thaw shrimp, place frozen shrimp in an airtight container in the fridge for at least 8 hours.

MAKE YOUR OWN SHRIMP STOCK

I can’t stress this enough. It is well worth the time and simple effort to make shrimp stock. The stock infuses this dish with so much flavor, and you will certainly miss it if you omit it.

  • In a saucepan, add shrimp shells/tails, bay leaf, black peppercorns, garlic, and fresh parsley.
  • Add water, simmer for 10-15 minutes, drain stock and discard the other stuff.

TIPS FOR EASY SHRIMP SCAMPI

  • Use 21-25 or 16-20 shrimp. You want large, plump shrimp for this recipe
  • Don’t use a nonstick skillet, because you won’t get that beautiful sear on the shrimp.
  • Don’t overcook the shrimp! Depending on size, it will take no more than 1 minute per side.
  • Use a crisp white wine, one that you like to drink, to deglaze the pan. If you don’t, you’ll end up with a dish you don’t like.

SERVINGS AND LEFTOVERS

I love shrimp, so I could easily eat half of this recipe. I like to serve my Easy Shrimp Scampi over fettucini but it’s also delicious with crusty bread. The key is to have something to soak up every drop of sauce. Of course, you could also go lower carb and serve it on its own.

It is no secret that I don’t enjoy reheated seafood because I don’t think it tastes the same. And with shrimp, it’s very hard to reheat without getting rubbery. So I just make what I need. And because this recipe comes together in about 25 minutes, it’s perfect for a weeknight dinner.

Easy Shrimp Scampi from KarylsKulinaryKrusade.com

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 oz Fettucini pasta
  • 1 lb shrimp (I use 16-20 or 21-25)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 Tablespoon avocado oil
  • 2 Tablespoons shallots, minced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (more or less, to taste)
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped

HOMEMADE SHRIMP STOCK

  • Shells & tails from shrimp
  • 1 Tablespoon whole black peppercorns
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 cloves raw garlic, roughly chopped (include skin)
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh parsley
  • 1 1/2 cups water

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. In a medium saucepan, add water, shrimp shells and tails, black peppercorns, bay leaf, garlic, and parsley. Bring to a boil, and reduce to a simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat for 5 minutes. Drain stock into a bowl and discard other stuff.
  2. Prepare pasta while the shrimp stock cooks. In a large pot of salted, boiling water, cook fettucini according to package directions.
  3. Prepare the shrimp while the pasta cooks. Season both sides of shrimp generously with salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning. 
  4. Heat 1/2 Tablespoon avocado oil in a large skillet. Add shrimp and cook for up to 1 minute per side. Cooking time depends on size, so watch carefully. Remove shrimp when it just turns pink and begins to curl, and set aside. 
  5. Add remaining 1/2 Tablespoon avocado oil to the skillet. Add shallots, garlic, and red pepper flakes, and cook for 2 minutes. Carefully pour white wine into the skillet, cook for 1 minute, and use a spoon to scrape any bits from the bottom of the skillet. 
  6. Add shrimp stock and juice of 1/2 lemon, and cook for 5 minutes, until slightly reduced. Add butter and cook for another minute.  Return shrimp to skillet, squeeze remaining lemon juice and garnish with parsley.
  7. Serve over pasta.

NOTES

Make your own shrimp stock!  You won’t be disappointed, and it’s super easy.

Shrimp cooks quickly! Watch carefully, because overcooked shrimp is rubbery and not good. Remove shrimp when it just turns pink and begins to curl. 

Do not use a nonstick skillet, or you won’t get the beautiful sear. 

Use a crisp white wine, and one you like to drink! The dish absorbs the flavor, so if you use wine you don’t like, you’ll get a dish you won’t like. 

Red pepper flakes add a punch of heat. Use more or less, to your preference.