Today is National Shrimp Scampi Day. If you are thinking sautéed shrimp with lots of butter, you are right. In America, often shrimp entrees are called Scampi in our Italian Restaurants. Scampi over Pasta. Scampi Salad. Is Scampi Italian for Shrimp? Or is Scampi a way to cook Shrimp?
The answer is no an no. Unless, of course you happen to be an American. Here we call small and medium shrimp shrimp. Large shrimp we call Prawns, or even Scampi. And anything “Scampi” is a dish made with large shrimp, butter and garlic. As it turns out, a shrimp is a shrimp, while Scampi is actually a Crustaceans commonly known as Dublin Bay Prawns or langoustine. And just for the record, Dublin Bay Prawns are not found in Dublin Bay. Nope, these Crustaceans call the waters off Ireland’s west coast home. True Scampi are more like lobsters complete with pinchers, while shrimp look more like insects with many legs.
All I know is that be it shrimp, prawns or mini lobsters, it’s really the butter and garlic that we all crave. If I had it my way, butter and garlic would be on everything. Okay, maybe not everything. I’m not sure I’d want butter garlic pancakes. But butter garlic steaks or burgers or asparagus – you bet!
Having Shrimp Scampi Day fall on a Thursday is also perfect. In our house, we celebrate Tuscan Thursdays. Every day is reason to celebrate at the table, to come together, enjoy a meal and connect with those we so often take for granted – our partners, our children, those we share life with. On Thursdays, we celebrate with all things Italian. This could be as simple as an Italian Sub Sandwich and Pasta Salad to – you guessed it – Shrimp Scampi!
Have I mentioned that I am a big fan of Food Network – the shows, the magazine, the inspiration and personalities. For this year’s Shrimp Scampi recipe, I turned to Tyler Florence. His rendition of Shrimp Scampi is simple and bright.
Linguini Shrimp Scampi
1 lb Linguini
Kosher Salt to taste
1 lb large Shrimp
4 Garlic Cloves
4 tablespoons Butter
4 tablespoons Olive Oil
Pinch Red Pepper Flakes
Fresh Black Pepper
1/2 cup White Wine
1/4 cup Italian Parsley
Place a large pot of water on the stove to boil. When it has come to the boil, season with a couple of tablespoons of Kosher Salt, add the linguini. Stir to make sure the pasta separates; cover. When the water returns to a boil, cook uncovered for about 6 to 8 minutes or until the pasta is not quite done. Drain the pasta.
Meanwhile, peel and deveine the shrimp. Keep on ice or well chilled until ready to cook. Peel and finely mince the shallots and garlic cloves, set aside.
In a large skillet, melt 2 tablespoons butter in 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat. Sauté the shallots, garlic, and red pepper flakes until the shallots are translucent, about 3 to 4 minutes. Season the shrimp with salt and pepper; add them to the pan and cook until they have turned pink, about 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the shrimp from the pan; set aside and keep warm. Add wine. Slice lemon in half, squeeze juice directly into the pan. Bring sauce to a boil. Whisk in remaining 2 tablespoons each of butter and olive oil. When the butter has melted, return the shrimp to the pan. Heat through, sprinkle with parsley and season well with salt and pepper.
Spread pasta out on a large, rimmed platter or low bowl. Pour scampi over the pasta. Drizzle with a bit more olive oil and serve.