It may sound funny, but “scampi” is actually the culinary name for Nephrops Norvegicus, commonly known as the Norway lobster or Dublin Bay prawn. In Europe (Britain and Italy especially) “scampi” refers to the tail meat of this small lobster. Here in the US the word “scampi” most often refers to a style of preparation involving butter, garlic, and white wine used mainly with shrimp. However, I’ve seen “chicken scampi” in several restaurant menus, which often incites a chuckle.
I love making this dish because it’s both easy and decadent; it’s not often you can make something so delicious in just 20 minutes using ingredients you probably mostly have at home already.
1 lb uncooked shrimp (tail-on or peeled)
2 shallots, minced
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp coconut oil
4 tbsp unsalted butter
1/2 cup dry white wine
juice of 1/2 lemon (2 tbsp)
1/2 tsp each salt and pepper
2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
Shrimp scampi usually involves a two-step process: first you cook the shrimp, then prepare the sauce and combine the two at the end. To prep the shrimp, warm the coconut oil in a skillet on med/high heat for a couple minutes, until it’s shimmering. Add the shrimp and sauté, stirring often, until they are mostly pink.
Remove the shrimp with tongs and set aside, and reduce the pan’s heat to medium.
Add 4 tbsp of the butter, and once it’s melted add the shallots and cook for about a minute, until aromatic. Add the garlic and cook for another 30 seconds.
Add the white wine, lemon juice, salt and pepper and continue to simmer for 5-10 minutes as the liquid cooks down. Stir occasionally, and scrape up any garlic/shallot that sticks to the bottom of the pan every few minutes. This is the trickiest part of the recipe; you need it to be hot enough to cook down the liquid without burning the garlic. Just keep an eye on it and keep stirring it every few minutes and you should be good.
Once most of the liquid has cooked down and the garlic looks like it’s starting to crisp a little, add the shrimp (minus whatever liquid has accumulated under it) and fresh parsley, and quickly toss everything together for a few seconds, until everything is evenly coated.
Remove from heat and serve immediately.
If you happen to get your hands on some gluten/grain-free potato gnocchi from Cappello’s, they were a perfect pairing with this dish. To prepare them, drop the gnocchi into a few quarts of boiling water that’s been seasoned with 1 tsp salt. Pull the gnocchi out as they float and strain them, should take a minute or two.
In a saucepan, melt 3 tbsp butter on medium heat.
Add the gnocchi and black pepper, and sauté for about three minutes, until they start to brown a little bit. Add the basil pesto, toss, and serve, sprinkling a little Parmesan or Romano cheese on top of each serving.
That’s it! Serve and enjoy.