Easy Shrimp Scampi

Shrimp Scampi
Shrimp Scampi. swalls/E+/Getty Images
Total Time 20 min
Prep 10 min, Cook 10 min
Yield 3 servings (193 calories each)

Shrimp scampi is a quick and easy but impressive dish. The great thing about shrimp is how fast it cooks--in fact, the biggest mistake cooks make with shrimp is cooking it too long, and it becomes rubbery. The very simplest way—with just garlic, lemon, and wine—is delicious and fast, but with just a couple of extra minutes, you can make it more fabulous with some shallot and lemon zest. The hot pepper is optional, as is the parsley, but they both add an extra level of flavor as well as color. 

Ingredients

  • 1 pound raw shelled deveined shrimp
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons minced shallots (optional)
  • 2 to 3 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons dry white wine or vermouth 
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • Zest of one lemon (optional)
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley (optional)

Preparation

  1. Heat a skillet until hot. While it's heating, salt and pepper the shrimp. Add the oil and swirl to coat. Add the shrimp and cook 1 to 2 minutes, stirring or turning them until they just turn pink—you'll be cooking them a little longer at the end, so don't worry if you're not sure they are done in the middle.
  2. Turn the heat down, and add the butter to the pan. If using the shallot, add now and cook for about a minute. Add the garlic and cayenne pepper, if using, and cook until fragrant. Add the wine and lemon juice, and lemon zest, if desired.
  1. Add the shrimp back to the pan, stir, and heat through. Add parsley if using.

Serving Suggestions and Cooking Tips

Serve this easy shrimp scampi over cauliflower rice or shirataki noodles (or other low-carb noodles such as tofu noodles).

Buying shrimp can be confusing if you don't handle shrimp regularly. Shrimp is sold either fresh or frozen--buying frozen is best since most shrimp is frozen at sea when it was caught and brought to the supermarket that way. The pink fresh-looking shrimp in the display case is just previously frozen thawed shrimp on ice.

Choose frozen headless shrimp with the shell and tail on. You want shrimp in as natural a state as possible, excluding the head. While some people eat shrimp heads on their own, it's best it be removed upon being caught. If you're lucky enough to buy live shrimp, you will remove the head just before or just after cooking.

If you buy the freshest shrimp (live shrimp or whole frozen shrimp), it will not be deveined unless you ask your fishmonger to do it for you.

If you prefer to do it at home, follow these instructions:

  • After washing the shrimp in cold water, remove the head, shell, and tail.
  • With a paring knife or shrimp deveiner, make a shallow incision down the middle of the back of the shrimp. When you find a dark vein, slide the knife underneath and pull the vein out of the shrimp with your finger. Discard the vein.

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