This homemade version of creamy shrimp scampi is every bit as good as what you’d find in a restaurant; sweet shrimp, lots of garlic, and a hint of red pepper flake heat.
Well we’re back in Florida for the winter…time to start eating seafood. You don’t have to live in Florida to eat seafood, (it’s just that the salty Gulf air makes me think I should). Heck, even up in Minnesota I made my Shrimp and Sausage Stew…twice!
Nearly all the shrimp we buy, even in Florida, is the flash frozen kind, available almost everywhere. When you look for shrimp to buy, try to find “wild caught”, preferably from the Gulf of Mexico, and the ingredients should say….Shrimp…nothing else. Much of the imported stuff is injected with fillers or soaked in color enhancers or preservatives and you don’t want that.
Making perfect creamy shrimp scampi
In this recipe, we’re trying to extract all the flavors available from the shrimp and this includes the shells.
If you buy shell-on shrimp, you may as well get all the shrimpy flavors. This isn’t absolutely necessary but it will add just a hint more flavor to the whole dish. Just simmer the shells in the wine for a few minutes, then strain the liquid into a bowl and reserve for later.
We’re also helping to expand the tastes in the shrimp by soaking them in a salt and sugar brine. The brine helps keep the shrimp stay moist and juicy. It definitely improves the yum factor.
When you make the creamy shrimp scampi dish, there are quite a few steps involved, (more than I normally like), so to make it easier, start by prepping everything first. Doing this you’ll find that the whole recipe smoothly comes together. That’s always a good thing and you’ll be eating this yummy meal much sooner.
To do first:
- Peel and devein the shrimp, reserve the shells
- Slice the garlic
- Chop the parsley
- Mix the lemon juice with the cornstarch
- Measure out the wine
Also, since this comes together pretty fast once all the prep work is done, prepare your pasta, rice, quinoa, or whatever you are serving with the scampi to coincide with the finishing of the dish which takes about 25 minutes. I know that my electric stove here in Florida takes 10 minutes to get water boiling, so I try to time these things out as best possible.
We served the shrimp scampi on top of spaghetti, but you can also mix the pasta right in with the sauce. Either way this is shrimpy goodness through and through. Joe x
Perfect Creamy Shrimp Scampi
Shrimp scampi with lots of garlic and creamy wine sauce.
- 20 shell on jumbo shrimp, 1.25 to 1.5 lbs. shelled, deveined, shells reserved
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 cup dry white wine, (pinot grigio or sauvignon blanc)
- 5 or 6 sprigs fresh thyme
- 3 tbsp sliced garlic cloves, (6 to 8 cloves depending on size)
- 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 3 tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
- 1 tsp cornstarch
- 1 tbsp chopped flat leaf parsley
- 4 tbsp butter, cut into 4 patties
- 1 qt water
- 2 tbsp salt
- 1 tbsp sugar
Mix water, salt, and sugar in a tall container and stir to dissolve. Add the raw shrimp and refrigerate for 15 to 30 minutes. Remove shrimp from the brine and pat dry with paper towels.
Add 1 tbsp olive oil to a 12" skillet on medium high heat and once the oil shimmers, add the shrimp shells. Stir occasionally until the shells start to brown, 3 to 4 minutes.
Remove the skillet from the heat and add the white wine and thyme sprigs. Return to the heat and simmer the wine 4 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Remove from the heat and strain the sauce into a bowl. Use a spoon or spatula to squeeze all the liquid from the shells. Discard shells and thyme.
Wipe the same skillet clean with paper towels, return to the stove on medium heat, add the remaining 1 tbsp of olive oil, pepper flakes, pepper, and slivered garlic. Stir until fragrant, about 1 minute, then add the wine sauce and bring to a simmer.
Add the shrimp to the skillet and cook, turning with tongs, until the shrimp is opaque, 5 to 7 minutes.
Remove the shrimp from the skillet to a dish, then mix the cornstarch with the lemon juice and add to the sauce, stirring until thickened, 1 minute.
Add the pats of butter to the sauce and stir to melt, then stir in the chopped parsley. Add shrimp to the sauce and toss to coat.
Serve alone or over pasta, mashed potatoes, quinoa, or any other grain of choice. Garnish with grated parmesan cheese and lemon wedges.
Recipe adapted from America's Test Kitchen.
This recipe is easiest followed by doing all the prep work first. Once that is done, it is a snap to make.
8 ounces of dry pasta, cooked al dente would be just about the right amount, if serving with pasta.