I love tried-and-true recipes. They’ve earned their reputation by being good. And consistent about it. That kind of thing is easy to take for granted, however, it matters. It really matters to me. I spend a lot of time trying new things; things I’d never hear of, from far and wide. I adjust recipes to suit my taste, and revamp those that need…a re-imagining. It’s exciting, rewarding, challenging. If not always successful. I’ll admit, sometimes it disappoints too. When I want something sure to please: my family, a group of friends, anyone I’d have the pleasure of sharing a meal with, having dishes that are no stress, proven, and always delicious refuel my desire to keep forward–venturing places I’ve yet to go, or have yet to discover because I know that ahead await dishes I’ll look to and rely on to deliver and endure. Always. This is one such recipe.
As is especially the case with a simple dish like this, good ingredients are key. I would avoid that watery and transparent, frozen to near fossilization, and unsustainably farmed “shrimp” you find too readily available, and too inexpensive to make sense. That would defeat the charm of simplicity. I like shrimp that are “meaty.” Being a New England girl, I can tell you that good shrimp have a quality similar to the tail of whole fresh lobster.
Recipe adapted from Ina Garten
2 lbs. Shrimp, raw, shell on (12-15 per lb.)
Sea or Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper
12 Tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
4 teaspoons finely chopped garlic
1/4 cup minced shallots
3 Tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
2/3 cup either panko or homemade breadcrumbs (I made mine fresh using homemade Italian bread)
Wedges of lemon for serving
Set your oven to preheat at 425 degrees F.
Carefully peel, devein and cut down top part of shrimp to butterfly, but don’t go all the way through. Leaving the tails of the shrimp on. This makes for a pretty presentation.
In large, glass bowl add shrimp, olive oil, wine, 2 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon pepper. Gently toss to coat shrimp. Set aside to prepare garlic mixture.
In a small bowl, mash the softened butter with garlic, shallots, parsley, red pepper flakes, lemon zest, breadcrumbs 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper until incorporated.
Start from outer edge of large oval gratin, or 3-4 small gratin’s, place the shrimp in a single layer, starting from inner edge of gratin, arrange shrimp cut side down with the curls turning up, towards the center of the dish. You will essentially be placing the shrimp in a spiral starting from the outside of the gratin and working inwards to the center..
Pour remaining marinade from bowl over shrimp. Evenly top shrimp with butter mixture. Bake 10-12 minutes until cooked through and bubbling. Broil scampi for additional minute if you want the top browned. Serve with lemon wedges.