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Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Shrimp Scampi

.:Phew:. I never know whether to be sad or relieved when the holidays are over. Perhaps I feel a little bit of both. I do know that driving fourteen hours in one day is a lot. I also know that suddenly being around little kids that are bathing in a pool of germs you're not used to swimming in can be rough on a gal's immune system. But I have persevered. .:Phew:.

Fortunately, I know some really easy dinners to get me through this recovery phase. This is what I made last night. Not only is it fairly healthy, provided you don't get carried away with the oil, but it is super-ooper-duper fast to make. Especially if you purchase your shrimp peeled and ready to go. I served it with garlic toast and green beans mixed with toasted almonds, a squirt of lemon juice, and a little butter. It was a great meal. Yummy and healthy!

Here are the main players for the shrimp. Of course, I realize now that I forgot to put the olive oil in the picture. I guess I had already drizzled it in the pan and put it away. Well, you get the general idea: a fairly simple cast of players. I used dry vermouth, but you could simply use any good white wine you have on hand.

I used Campari tomatoes. They're the only tomatoes I buy in the winter months of tasteless, crunchy store-bought tomatoes. They're a little more expensive and the small size is sometimes a hassle, but they actually taste like tomatoes. That makes it a no-brainer for me. Cut the tomatoes in half (across the tomatoes equator, separating top from bottom) and squeeze out the seeds. Then dice.

Once you have all the ingredients ready, turn the heat on and get going. Start with the garlic and then add the shrimp. I used a non-non-stick skillet for this. You can use a non-stick pan, but see all those dark bits stuck to the pan? There's flavor in them thar bits. You won't get as many of those bits if you use a non-stick pan. At the end of the process, you'll use the vermouth to loosen up those bits and deglaze the pan. Instant delicious sauce!

Shrimp Scampi
Yield: 2-3 servings

1-2 TBS olive oil
1 TBS garlic, minced
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (or to taste)
1 lb peeled and deveined shrimp
1 TBS lemon juice
1/4 cup dry vermouth (or white wine)
1/2 cup seeded, diced tomatoes
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat a skillet over medium-high heat with the olive oil. When the pan and oil are hot, add the garlic and pepper flakes, stirring to keep from burning. When the garlic turns slightly golden, add the shrimp and lemon juice. Let the shrimp cook for 2-3 minutes per side without stirring very often. This will allow browned bits to stick to the pan which will provide extra flavor for the dish.

When the shrimp are completely pink, add the vermouth and stir to loosen the bits on the bottom of the pan. Add the tomatoes and stir. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.

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