“This is the best lunch ever, Mom, the King of All Lunches,” says Leandro, The King of All Understatements.
The source of his enthusiasm was Shrimp Scampi (kind of an Americanized misnomer for an Italian recipe: read here). And if it wasn’t the best lunch ever (he has fewer lunches to compare with than I do) it was pretty damn good.
Right up there with a tuna tartare and Sancerre lunch at a charming St. Maarten marina with Jayne McAllister, any number of Verdejo-laced Spanish seafood lunches with Mele at Marisquería Atlantica or Tasca del Pescador in the Plaza de Mercado of Santurce, or grilled fish chez nous courtesy Pedro and a fishing neighbor, or clams we’ve just raked up in a secret location with Deborah Pittorino, painter-fisherman Richie Fiedler & Co and Paumanok’s Chenin Blanc at The Greenporter…but I digress.
Back to Sunday’s scampi. This is a butter, garlic and wine concoction for lightly cooked shrimp (or prawns, if you prefer: read shrimp vs. prawn word wars here) that we lightened up (I say we, because Leandro scrubbed up and donned apron to help peel them; a valiant effort that resulted in in a single peeled shrimp, a wrinkled nose, and a tearing off of apron and another scrubbing up in very rapid succession).
Usually the ratio of butter to oil is reversed, but I am not fond of seafood swimming in butter. And usually the fresh green herb is parsley, but the boy has recently got very, very into cilantro, so we switched that out to to excellent effect. We served it with pasta — taking advantage of the shrimp shells to cook the pasta in seafood broth, but it can be served with rice, couscous, or bread.
I had a glass of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, Leandro had a seltzer, so I was serenaded by exclamations of “Yums” and “Mom, this is the best! This is so good!” punctuated by very profound carbonated belches. In all, a perfect lunch.
1 lb. jumbo shrimp, peels reserved
½ pound pasta of your choice
1 Tbs unsalted butter
3 Tbs olive oil
Salt to taste
1 Tbs garlic, minced
Dash or more hot red pepper flakes
1 Tbs lemon juice
¼ Cup dry white wine
1-2 Tbs chopped cilantro/parsley
Place the reserved shrimp peelings in a small saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil for five minutes, then strain water into pasta cooking liquid.
Boil 1 lb. pasta to package instructions, reserving ¼ Cup cooking liquid.
In a large skillet, heat butter and olive on medium high. Lightly salt shrimp. When foaming subsides, add garlic and cook three minutes on medium until garlic starts to brown. Add shrimp and cook, without moving, for one minute. Turn shrimp over. Cook for one more minute, then add pepper, lemon juice and white wine. Bring to a boil, boil for one minute, then remove from heat. If you need more liquid, add reserved pasta water. Add pasta to skillet, stir to combine and serve with crusty bread.