Happy Shrimp Scampi Day!
Yes, I am celebrating this little-known holiday, and you should as well. Cooking Contest Central at http://cookingcontestcentral.com/contests/category/deadline/ has asked me to post a Shrimp Scampi recipe for you and I jumped at the chance to show you just how simple (and fast!) this dish can be. I have created the most slam-dunk easy recipe for Scampi that you have ever seen. It’s so simple—just two ingredients—that I can’t even enter it in a contest. It would be like entering breakfast cereal in a contest—you pour it in a bowl and you add milk—uh, okay, we all knew that.
So believe me, even non-cooks can make this, and dazzle their guests. Granted, shrimp are not cheap. Prawns and jumbo shrimp are even less cheap. But they’re a whole lot less expensive than certain cuts of meat, and way below the cost of crab or halibut these days. Choose whatever size shrimp you like, and then watch them as they cook so that you can serve them just as they become pink and opaque. Do not overcook seafood. Ever. I have spoken.
WORLD’S EASIEST SHRIMP SCAMPI
Enough Shrimp for 4 people (3-4 jumbos per person, or 8-10 small guys per person, your choice)—peeled and deveined
4 Tbsp. bottled pesto sauce
OPTIONAL: ¼ Cup butter, if you want the sauce to be thinner for bread dipping (if tossing with pasta, double butter and pesto)
OPTIONAL: a squeeze of fresh lemon
Directions: If you read any scampi recipe, you will notice that the sauce ingredients read like the label on a jar of pesto sauce. So why not just use pesto sauce? This is a great step-saver! If you want it more garlicky, I guess you could add more, but never overwhelm delicate seafood flavors with sledgehammer spices. Please. Heat the pesto sauce in a skillet over medium-low heat. If you want to thin it with butter, or even more olive oil than is already in the pesto, now would be the time to add that. Place the shrimp in the skillet, add a squeeze of lemon if you wish, and let them cook just a minute or two per side, then turn them, watching until they are fully opaque. Ta-da! The shrimp are done and so are you.
Note: Some people like to leave the tails on because they think shrimp are prettier this way. HOWEVER… this only leaves you two choices, both undesirable in my opinion. Choice Number One: You must cut the tails off with a knife, leaving some shrimp inside the tail and wasting that delicious shrimp meat. Or, Choice Number Two: You will pick up the shrimp, lightly bite the tail to release all the meat, but then end up with greasy fingers. I vote for completely peeling the shrimp before you cook them, which makes life much easier for your guests.