Here’s a recipe for shrimp scampi that’s sure to get you rave reviews. It’s adapted from one by Ellie Krieger of the Food Network, and it’s a client favorite.
The addition of artichokes (which are best in spring) to this classic Italian-American dish is sheer genius. Artichokes pair well with something acidic, like the lemon juice used in shrimp scampi, and also with something creamy, like the butter that is often used.
Ellie’s recipe calls for frozen or canned artichokes. Those can be used in a pinch; however, artichokes have a delicate flavor that is best enjoyed fresh. In a dish like this, opt for frozen over canned; canned has very little of the delicate artichoke flavor remaining.
Baby artichokes may look intimidating at first, but they are actually quite user-friendly and cook much faster than large, full-grown artichokes. All you need to do after washing the artichokes is to remove the outermost leaves until you get to the pale green that runs halfway up the artichoke. Cut off the stem, and trim any rough edges around the base of the artichoke where you removed the leaves. Cut off the top of the artichoke about ¾ of an inch down from the tip. Immediately submerge into potent acidulated (preferably lemon) water to prevent browning.
If you’re still concerned about handling this specialty produce item, good online videos are available to help you through the process.
Ellie’s recipe does not call for butter; however, it doesn’t quite seem like shrimp scampi without it. You may wish to just use a small amount of the real thing or a light butter product instead. I’ve also added crushed red pepper flakes for a touch of heat.
Shrimp scampi is generally served over pasta, like linguine, but rice also works well. A green vegetable or salad completes the meal.
SHRIMP SCAMPI WITH SHALLOTS AND BABY ARTICHOKES
4 large lemons
1 package of baby artichokes (usually 9 count)
— salt and black pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 small shallots, thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup dry white wine
¾ pound large shrimp, peeled, deveined and tail removed
4 tablespoons softened butter, regular or light
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (or to taste)
¼ cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
Fill a small mixing bowl with water. Juice the lemons and place the juice of 3 of the lemons in the water. Reserve the juice of the remaining lemon.
Trim the baby artichokes. Remove the tough outermost leaves until pale green appears about halfway up the artichoke. Cut off the stem and trim the rough edges at the base where the leaves were removed. Cut off the top of the artichoke about ¾ of an inch down from the tip. Immediately submerge in the lemon water. When finished trimming all the artichokes, cut each one into quarters and immediately place back in the acidulated water.
Transfer artichokes and 1 cup of the acidulated water to a skillet or saute pan. Season with salt and black pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer 8-10 minutes or until artichokes are easily pierced with a knife. Drain in a colander and set aside.
Heat olive oil over medium-high heat in the skillet or saute pan. Add the shallots and cook 8-10 minutes or until softened, being careful not to brown. Add the garlic and drained artichokes and cook briefly, about 30 seconds. Add the white wine and the reserved lemon juice. Bring to a boil, cook 1 minute. Reduce heat to low, stir in the shrimp and cook gently until the shrimp are cooked through. Stir in the butter, red pepper flakes and parsley. Adjust seasoning if necessary with salt. Serve immediately.
–Adapted from “The Food You Crave” by Ellie Krieger