Finally! Chris Kimball has badly needed to update his 16-year-old Shrimp Scampi recipe, which used just 1 tablespoon of vermouth and lacked lemon flavor. Over those 16 years I have adapted his old recipe, and published my own personal updates about 6 months ago. I felt that that recipe was much more well-rounded.
Today’s recipe is an even greater improvement. The biggest news with this recipe is a change in cooking technique; poaching the shrimp in homemade stock rather than sauteing them. By replacing the ever-so-slight caramelization of the shrimp, with a much more aggressive caramelization of the shells. Today’s recipe offers more tender shrimp and better flavor of the sauce; a win-win. 5-stars.
- Chris Kimball recommends serving with crusty bread. But to make a meal out of this I recommend serving with pasta, potatoes or rice.
- Extra-large shrimp (21 to 25 per pound) can be substituted for jumbo shrimp. If you use them, reduce the shrimp cooking time in Step 10 by 1 to 2 minutes.
- Chris Kimball says he prefers untreated shrimp, but if your shrimp are treated with sodium or preservatives (such as sodium tripolyphosphate) then skip the brining in Step 3.
How much work? Medium.
How big of a mess? Medium.
Started: 5:10 PM. Ready: 6:00PM
Chris Kimball’s original recipe is here. The descriptions of how I prepared it today are given below:
3 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 pounds shell-on jumbo shrimp (16-to-20 per pound)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup dry white wine
4 sprigs fresh thyme
3 tablespoons lemon juice, plus 1 lemon cut into wedges for serving
1 teaspoon cornstarch
8 garlic cloves, sliced thin
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon pepper
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
- The best way to defrost shrimp is to leave them in a covered bowl overnight in your refrigerator; The next day rinse then with cold water. If you didn’t defrost your shrimp last night, fill a large bowl of cold tap water. Put shrimp in colander and submerge in cold water. After 10 minutes change the cold water and allow another 10 to 20 minutes to defrost. Peel (and devein) the shrimp, reserving the shells for Step 2.
- Start to boil water for pasta, potatoes or rice. Starting at the beginning is imperative because it can take longer to prepare than the actual scampi.
- If your shrimp are treated with sodium or preservatives (such as sodium tripolyphosphate), skip the following brining steps (and add 1/4 teaspoon of salt to the sauce in step 12). To brine your shrimp, add 1 quart (4 cups) water to a large bowl and dissolve 3 tablespoons salt and 2 tablespoons sugar. Add shrimp to brine, cover, and refrigerate for 15 minutes. Remove shrimp from brine and use paper towels to pat them dry.
- Put a 12″-regular skillet over high burner and pre-heat 1 tablespoon olive oil until it begins to shimmer. Add shrimp shells and cook for 4 minutes, stir frequently, until the shells and skillet start to brown.
- Briefly remove skillet from burner; reduce burner to medium. Add 1 cup white wine and thyme springs. Once the bubbling is over, put skillet over medium burner and gently simmer for 5 minutes; stirring occasionally.
- Meanwhile, thinly slice 8 cloves of garlic. Chop your 1 tablespoon of parsley. Cut 4 tablespoons of butter into 1/2″-pieces.
- Strain mixture through a colander into a medium bowl; discard the solids. You should be left with 2/3-cup of liquid.
- In a small bowl, mix together 3 tablespoons lemon juice and 1 teaspoon cornstarch.
- Wipe out your skillet using paper towels. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil, sliced garlic and 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes to skillet, and set over medium-low burner for 3 to 5 minutes; until the edges of the garlic begin to brown.
- Add the 2/3-cup of reduced wine to the skillet and increase burner to high until it comes up to a simmer. Reduce burner to medium. Add raw shrimp to liquid, cover with lid, and cook for about 5 minutes; stir occasionally. When the shrimp are opaque, use a slotted spoon to remove shrimp to a medium bowl.
- Continue to cook sauce over medium burner and add lemon juice (from Step 8). Cook for just 1 minute to allow to slightly thicken.
- Remove skillet from burner and add 4 tablespoons of butter and 1 tablespoon chopped parsley. If you did not brine your shrimp than add 1/4 teaspoon of salt, and adjust according to taste. Return the shrimp to the pan along with any accumulated juices. Toss to combine, cut 1 lemon into wedges, and serve with the lemon wedges separately.