Well, hello Newport.  I missed you last month!  Got the ‘Rona, all good now, and back with a simple yet very delicious recipe.  This week, I’m going to show you my take on shrimp scampi. It’s got an interesting ingredient and a step that you don’t normally see.  This is a pasta-less dish.  I actually eat the shrimp with just a veggie on the side.   So, first and foremost, here are the ingredients!

Ingredients:

  • 10 medium peel shrimp
  • 4 cloves of garlic, crushed in a garlic press
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • ¼ cup dry vermouth
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Yes, I know, scampi is made with white wine, but hear me out.  I think dry vermouth is a superior cooking ingredient.  I use it in place of white wine quite often.  Pork chops smothered in cream of mushroom soup? I add vermouth instead of white wine.  Fish baked in white wine and garlic? Vermouth for me!  So here, we’re using vermouth instead of white wine.  I’m also trying to see how many times I can say vermouth in one paragraph.

One thing you need to know is I want to maximize the garlic flavor, so in this recipe, we’re going to marinate the shrimp in garlic and oil. Normally, you don’t see this happen.  Typical scampi recipes call for butter and garlic in the pan, yadda yadda.  That’s not how this is going.  Take the four cloves of garlic and put them through a garlic press.  If you don’t have one, try to mince the garlic as fine as possible.  In a 1-pint deli container, put your raw peeled and deveined shrimp in there with the crushed garlic and the olive oil.  Cover and shake the heck out of it until all of the shrimp are evenly coated with garlic and oil.   

Let that sit for an hour or 2.  Once they have finished marinating, put a sauté pan on medium heat.  Do not add any oil or butter to the pan.  These shrimp pare coated in oil and therefore do not need any additional oil in the pan. Once the pan has hit temperature, throw the shrimp in and cook for 2 minutes or until they start to turn pink on one side.  Make sure to season them with salt and pepper at this point.  Be careful, shrimp is like duck, you overcook it for even a little bit and you’ve got rubber on your hands. Once you se that color, flip them and add the vermouth.  

Let these cook for about 1 minute more or until pink all the way around. Remove the shrimp and crank the heat up to medium-high. Reduce the vermouth for a minute and then pour the sauce over the shrimp. Here is my shrimp with a side of roasted asparagus

Now, here’s some bonus footage.  If you’re serving this over pasta, which is normally how it’s served, here’s what you do. Make sure that pasta is cooking while you’re cooking the shrimp.  Time it so the pasta is done just as you’re pulling the shrimp out of the sauté pan.  Transfer the pasta to the pan with the garlic and vermouth and toss so it’s coated well.  Add a ladle or 2 of the pasta water and let cook until it forms a nice, silky sauce. You always want to cook your pasta in the sauce a bit because that pasta will absorb a bit of it and have maximum flavor! Turn the heat off, return the shrimp to the pan and toss into the pasta.  Serve with some garlic bread and enjoy your evening!  See you next month!

Jay Flanders

Jay Flanders is a native of Newport and avid cook. While he studied at the University of Rhode Island, he also attended the College of Food Network via his television set where he learned the basics of cooking. Also being an all-too-avid eater at restaurants, he really began to learn what ingredients went together, cooking techniques and other tips and tricks in the kitchen. He used that knowledge to teach himself how to cook and how to start making his own recipes. Now, he’s here to give you his tips, tricks and sometimes uniquely tasty spins on recipes and to show you that great cooking can be done is the tiniest of kitchens like his.