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Since childhood, I have always been a big seafood lover. My favorite dish, hands down, is shrimp scampi.
I have sampled many varieties of scampi, both in restaurants and homemade. Some dishes are more buttery, and some are served over pasta, usually angel hair.
The version of this recipe that I grew up with is baked shrimp scampi. This perfect mix of butter, lemon, and garlic is unlike anything else I have ever experienced.
The crunchiness of the breadcrumb topping soaks up all of these flavors and makes for a truly delicious dish.
This recipe starts with “shell on” shrimp that require deveining – if you’re not sure how to go about this, check out Foodal’s guide on the subject.
Cooking by the Numbers…
Step 1 – Prepare Your Mise en Place
Preheat the oven to 425°F and get out a large rectangular ceramic or glass baking dish.
Prepare your ingredients, setting out the required amounts of shrimp, shallots, garlic, lemon, and parsley.
Measure the required amount of butter, and allow it to soften on the countertop, or defrost in the microwave in 20-second increments on low power.
Separate the egg, reserving the white for another use. Try adding it to a fluffy omelet or whipping it with more egg whites to make a meringue.
Measure out the olive oil, white wine, red pepper flakes, breadcrumbs, salt, and freshly ground black pepper.
Step 2 – Peel
Next, butterfly the shrimp to create a space for stuffing in the middle.
With a sharp knife, carefully slice them in half without cutting all the way through the back of the shrimp, so you have two pieces that open like a book.
To speed up the process, consider purchasing prepared shrimp…it may be a bit more costly, but if you’re rushed for time, it’ll save you a bit of work.
Step 3 – Prep the Citrus and Vegetables
Clean the fruit well, then roll your lemon on the countertop, pressing beneath your palm so it will be easier to extract the juice.
Next, using a microplane or zester, remove the zest from the lemon before cutting it in half. You want the flavorful yellow outer layer where all of the aromatic essential oils are found, not the bitter white pith below.
Juice the lemon with a citrus reamer. Squeezing with a fork or large metal spoon stuck into the middle of the fruit will also work for juicing in a pinch.
Remove any seeds, give the zest a quick chop if the pieces that you’ve grated with your zesting tool of choice are large, and measure out the quantities of juice and zest that you will need for this recipe.
Mince the garlic and shallots. Remove the stems from a small handful of fresh parsley and chop to add to the filling, and for garnish.
Step 4 – Prepare the Breadcrumb Mixture
In a large mixing bowl, combine the minced garlic, shallots, parsley, lemon juice and zest, olive oil, wine, butter, red pepper flakes, egg yolk, breadcrumbs, salt, and pepper.
Mix well until the ingredients are evenly distributed.
Step 5 – Stuff and Bake
Use a teaspoon to gently fill the cut side of each shrimp with the breadcrumb mixture.
Arrange the shrimp in a single layer in the prepared baking dish. The seafood can be touching, but avoid any overlap.
Use a spatula to spread the remaining filling mixture over the shrimp.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the breadcrumbs on top are golden.
Step 6 – Garnish and Serve
While the shrimp are baking, you can boil water and start cooking some pasta if you wish.
I really like this buttery baked shrimp scampi served with pasta that has been tossed with just a hint of salt, and a generous glug of extra virgin olive oil – or some more butter.
Garnish the dish with fresh lemon slices and parsley, and it’s ready to serve.
Serve Up Some Simple Seafood for Supper Tonight
This dish offers a beautiful presentation without being too complicated, and it’s big on flavor. What’s not to like?
If you’ve got shrimp fans at your house, they are going to love this dish. And if you’re not sure about deveining and butterflying your own shrimp, just ask for some assistance at the seafood counter of your local market.
This meal is perfect for an intimate dinner for a small group, or you can double it up and bake a few pans of shrimp at a time with a big pot of spaghetti to feed a crowd.
Is your mouth watering yet? Well go ahead, then – it’s time to get cooking!
How do you enjoy eating shrimp? What will you serve alongside yours? Let us know in the comments below.
For more delish seafood and pasta dishes, try these:
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Photos by Felicia Lim, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally posted April 25, 2015. Revised and updated February 1, 2017 with additional writing and editing by Felicia Lim and Allison Sidhu.
*Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.
About Jennifer Swartvagher
Jennifer is an experienced journalist and author. Her work has been featured on TODAY Parents, The New York Times Blog, BlogHer, Scary Mommy, and scores of other parenting and cooking publications.