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Recipe File: Shrimp Scampi
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 07, 2005 7:41 pm    Post subject: Recipe File: Shrimp Scampi Reply with quote


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Traditionally served over linguine, shrimp scampi makes a quick and easy dinner that works equally well eaten in front of the computer or as the main dish of a romantic candlelight dinner. I serve large shrimp (16-20 count) when I have company over, but for my own consumption, I use the less expensive 41-50 count variety. Cooking the shrimp in butter provides most of the flavor but garlic and parsley is essential to the dish. Linguine takes about the same amount of time to cook, which makes it the perfect compliment to shrimp scampi both culinarily and in terms of efficiency.

In the United States, shrimp is sold by "count". This is a rating of the size and weight of the shrimp. The count represents the number of shrimp in a pound for a given size category. For example, 41-50 count shrimp are composed of shrimp that weigh about 1/3 ounce each, while 16-20 count shrimp are an ounce each (or a little less) in weight. The lower the count, the larger the shrimp (and the more expensive).

Bring six quarts of water in a large pot to a boil. While waiting for the water to boil, peel one pound of shrimp, leaving tails on. Butterfly the shrimp by cutting the backs of each shrimp. While butterflying I also remove the vein (I think it's actually the alimentary canal) to avoid having gritty shrimp waste in my scampi. Rinse the shrimp and blot dry with paper towels. Once the water is boiling, stir in 1/2 tablespoon table salt and add one pound of dried linguine. (Cooking times for pasta varies by manufacturer. Use the instructions on the box, but be aware that many pasta manufacturers recommend cooking times that are to long for al dente. I suggest subtracting a few minutes from the cooking time and testing the pasta by biting down on it and looking at the cross section. There should still be a tiny speck of uncooked pasta when the noodles are al dente. Drain the pasta immediately; they will finish cooking as they stand.)

Melt four tablespoons of butter and two tablespoons of olive oil in the pan. Add about 2 teaspoons of minced garlic and 1/4 teaspoon salt (if using unsalted butter). Stir over medium-low heat until the garlic is lightly browned.
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The shrimp should be added in a single layer on the pan (cook two batches if necessary). The shrimp can be cooked over low or medium heat. Over medium heat, the shrimp will form a slight crust and be golden brown when cooked. When the shrimp color changes and the flesh touching the pan is no longer translucent (about two minutes), flip the shrimps over with a pair of tongs or spatula.
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Meanwhile, when the linguine is cooked to the desired level, pour the pasta into a collander to drain. Return the pasta to the pot or into a large bowl. When the second side of the shrimp is fully cooked (another two minutes), throw in one tablespoon chopped parsley and give it a quick stir. Remove from the heat and pour shrimp and butter over the pasta. Toss and serve with fresh grated parmesan, ground black pepper, and a slice of lemon.

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Shrimp Scampi
1 lb. shrimpcook until opaqueflip; cook until opaqueadd
4 Tbs. buttermeltbrown
2 Tbs. olive oil
1/4 tsp. salt
2 tsp. minced garlic
1 Tbs. chopped parsley
Copyright Michael Chu 2004
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 07, 2005 7:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Awwwww, the pancetta is getting lonely. Pasta and shell fish just LOVE cured pork. I know, I seen them glisten.

Dr. B / Meathenge
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 07, 2005 7:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Why does the shrimp turn red?
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Michael Chu



Joined: 10 May 2005
Posts: 1631
Location: Austin, TX (USA)

PostPosted: Mon Nov 07, 2005 7:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

re: Shrimp color change

Shrimp (and lobsters, crabs, lagostines, crawfish, etc.) contain a pigment called astaxanthin. The astaxanthin is covered by proteins, so when you introduce enough heat, the proteins unravel and the astaxanthin is released. The astaxanthin provides the reddish orange coloring that we associate with cooked shrimp. Astaxanthin is also the pigmentation that makes salmon flesh pink or orange.

Astaxanthin is produced by some plants and algae and it is the consumption of this plant matter that introduces the pigment into crustaceans and fish. (Commercial farms have also been known to add astaxanthin to feed in order to produce more vibrant color and promote proper growth.)

Hope this helped,
Michael
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 07, 2005 7:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

what is butterflying?
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Chris_repost
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 07, 2005 7:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sounds delicious - however, why would you leave the tails on? It just makes the diner have to remove the tail before eating the shrimp.

I usually remove the tail unless battering (so you can use the tail as a 'handle').

Thanks!
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Ben FrantzDale
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 07, 2005 7:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Anonymous, I the answer appears to be Astaxanthin. (I looked it up, found it wasn't in Wikipedia, and added it. I put two links there.)
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Michael Chu



Joined: 10 May 2005
Posts: 1631
Location: Austin, TX (USA)

PostPosted: Mon Nov 07, 2005 7:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

re: Butterflying

Butterflying shrimp is simply to provide a shallow cut down the back (without cutting through the shrimp). This will help the shrimp curl more during cooking and the back will open up enabling more shrimp surface area for sauces and seasonings to coat.

re: leaving the tails on

I have no idea why the tails are left on in shrimp scampi. Seems to be a tradition (like serving with linguine). I too prefer if the tails are off because then I can eat the whole meal without thinking about shells or tails or inedible parts.

Michael
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giulienk
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 07, 2005 7:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

IMHO I don't think grated parmisan really go well with scampi. At least in Italy it's a no no no. But YMMV.
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Alredhead
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 07, 2005 7:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

We aren't in Italy are we? I like the recipe as it is. If you don't, or you would like to change something, why don't you do that when you are making the food for yourself?

Alredhead
http://alredhead.blogspot.com
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A
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 07, 2005 7:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

thank you sooo much...you've got me cooking again!
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fectin
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 07, 2005 7:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

actually, the smaller shrimp are the better kind, and the smallest you can et are best. Ironic, I know, but it's a question of flavor. Big shrimp are food like parsley is food. interesting, edible, but best as a garnish.
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graceshu
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 07, 2005 7:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

i hunger.
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supergood
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 07, 2005 7:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I thought I might make some clarifications and points for your international readers (like myself)!

The shrimp used in this recipe are actually Prawns, this is just another site of the old "Throw another shrimp no the barbie" thing that Australians endure. Not that I am arguing that the Americans are wrong here (I don't need to do I? hehe) just you wont be able to find big shrimps otherwise. Well in my neck of the woods you wouldn't.

Also the name of the dish confuses me too. Because down here we have another shrimp/prawn like creature called Scampi (its halfway in size between a Tiger Prawn and a Crayfish). We don't really get to eat much of in New Zealand, as its exported possibly to Japan and Europe. But I guess thats by the by.

Oh, and about leaving the tails on, I believe it gives you something to hold on to if you are going to eat them by hand. Also they're fine to eat and provide a nice textural contrast in your dish.
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Michael Chu



Joined: 10 May 2005
Posts: 1631
Location: Austin, TX (USA)

PostPosted: Mon Nov 07, 2005 7:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

re: Prawns vs. shrimp

In different parts of the United States (and the world), the name shrimp has different meanings. In some cookbooks, restaurants, and markets, any large shrimp is called a prawn. As I understand it, this is not technically correct. I will explain how I choose to refer to these crustaceans:
Shrimp - The sea creatures pictured in this article regardless of size.
Prawns - Similar to shrimp but have little pinchers. Also called langoustines. In Italy, I believe these are referred to as scampi (thus the necessity of using large shrimp in this dish). These aren't usually sold at supermarkets (in my area).
Lobster - A really HUGE prawn with BIG pinchers. Smile

Michael
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