Tag Archives: shrimp scampi

Nonna’s Cookbook: Entry #1 Scampi

I’ve been sharing my cooking  (and life) adventures here for several years. Here, I’m Mama D, home cook and blogger. I answer to a few other names as well. I’m Mom to my sons, Wife to Papa Diehl, and proudly, I’m Nonna to my beautiful grandchildren. As the holidays draw to a close, the magic of family is the star on my Christmas tree.

Sitting under that tree right now is a small book that was a special gift from my grandson, Jakob. It’s a “fill in the blanks” book designed to preserve recipes. As a new year dawns, one of my “resolutions” is to use this book to record my favorite recipes. It is an exercise in an art that has been lost to me for many years, and perhaps something my grandchildren will look at one day.

I know in this day and age most of us preserve our recipes and many of our thoughts and ideas, for that matter, on the computer. We post them on social media to be shared with an audience of friends, family, and total strangers. It’s easy, it’s quick, but there is a certain amount of de-personalization in the whole process. We don’t write letters any more, and the paper trail we leave is in the “Cloud” wherever that may be. Most children aren’t learning to write cursive and struggle to read the few words that are written on a birthday card. I’ll get off my soapbox, now. I’m not against modern technology, far from it ( this blog is small proof of that). So, while I will continue to share my recipes here, many will also live on in that little book that’s under the Christmas tree.For the first entry in my cookbook I’m sharing my Scampi recipe. I’ve learned that the word Scampi in Italian means prawn (a.k.a. a large shrimp) thus making “Shrimp Scampi” somewhat redundant. Translations notwithstanding, this is my favorite way to make shrimp, no matter where they are going to wind up. In this recipe, the magic is in the marinade. The ingredients are simple and always available in Mama D’s Kitchen.Lots of garlic, red pepper flakes, lemon zest, and parsley mingle with lemon juice, dry vermouth, and quite a bit more than a little extra virgin olive oil. This mixture gives the sweetly bland shrimp a culinary pair of big girl panties and prepares them for any kind of introduction to heat.After a few hours resting in-robed in plastic within the cool confines of the refrigerator, they are ready for anything; a hot grill basket, a quick bake in the oven, a turn in a skillet, or a brief visit under the broiler. Where they go after that is up to the cook’s imagination, but it is always delicious and never results in left overs.

So here without further ado is Mama D’s Scampi recipe.

Scampi
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Servings
4
Servings
4
Scampi
Print Recipe
Servings
4
Servings
4
Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Dry the peeled and deveined shrimp between paper towels, then place them in a zip top bag.
  2. Mix the remaining ingredients together in a small bowl. Pour the marinade into the bag of shrimp. Seal the bag and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, but no longer than 5.
  3. Grilling: Heat a grill basket over a medium high fire. Spray the basket with non-stick spray. Remove the shrimp from the bag and add to the grill basket. Cook stirring gently until the shrimp turn pink and curl slightly. This takes 7 -10 minutes.
  4. Broiling: Place the shrimp in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with a little of the marinade. Broil 3 - 4 minutes. turn the shrimp and broil for 3-4 minutes more.
  5. Baking: Lay the shrimp on the baking sheet as for broiling. Bake 3-4 minutes, turn the shrimp and broil 3-4 minutes more
  6. Frying: Heat a large skillet and add about 2 tablespoons of the marinade. Add the shrimp and saute, turning frequently until they turn pink .
  7. Once the shrimp are slightly curled and pretty in pink remove them from the heat source and serve as an appetizer or main dish.
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The recipe will live on as part of this blog post. It is also preserved as the official first entry in “Nonna’s Cookbook.”

Happy New Year!

Birthday Memories and Grilled Shrimp Scampi

We just celebrated my son’s birthday. As I’ve been doing since my sons were celebrating their first trips around the sun, I prepared the dinner that he requested. Birthdays have always been kind of a big deal in our family. When the boys were growing up, there was the “friends party” and the family dinner. We lived in a family dense complex in California and friends were as close as walking out the front door. Scan_Pic0053The common courtyard was always alive with kids having fun. Scan_Pic0054Even adults got into the act. (No apologies,..it was the 80’s)

I was (in)famous for my themed parties that always featured the appropriately themed cake. Scan_Pic0057From dinosaurs to super heroes Scan_Pic0056I did it all…and Ninja Turtles twice. Scan_Pic0055Scan_Pic0058Whatever the boys were into, I was right there with a sheet cake. It’s amazing what you can do with a cake mix, food coloring, and decorating icing tubes.

Once the “friend party” was over, there was the family dinner. As soon as they were old enough to make the request, I prepared whatever meal they wanted. Yes, there were times that we had pizza or macaroni and cheese. Then there was the time we had Big Macs. I’m sure grandma was glad she flew over 2000 miles for that taste treat. The boys grew up and their palates expanded. Artichokes, crab, and Fettuccine Alfredo took over the menu. Now that they are grown up, their choices have grown up with them, more or less… Fried chicken three years running may be an exception to that, but I aim to please.

Now, back to the Shrimp Scampi, (another three-year running request) I usually make scampi in the traditional manner; on the stove with butter, olive oil, garlic ,and lemon. I lovingly place it on a bed of al dente linguine and dust it with Romano cheese. This year something got into me. Most likely it was the fact that this dinner also needed to include barbecued ribs and there seemed to be no natural bridge. Being Mama D, I was of course able to come up with a solution. The shrimp would become the appetizer.

All the flavors that went into scampi would become a marinade.  So, lemon juice (and zest) joined lots of garlic, a little red pepper and vermouth.DIGITAL CAMERAAfter several hours the shrimp were extremely happy. They glistened with olive oil and their sweet scent of the sea mingled with the garlic.DIGITAL CAMERAI tossed them in our trusty grill basket where they cooked quickly aided by lots of tossing and moving about on the grill. DIGITAL CAMERA

When they were cooked to perfection; plump and pink and slightly translucent with a good bit of spring in their step, They were plated to the happiness of all present.

DIGITAL CAMERAWe repeated this three times, cleaning the plate every time. The shrimp were tender and juicy and the flavor was amazing. There is something about the combination of sweet seafood and the smokey grill that are just magical. I think this may be the new standard for shrimp scampi, and no one seemed to miss the linguine.

Scampi
Print Recipe
Servings
4
Servings
4
Scampi
Print Recipe
Servings
4
Servings
4
Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Once the shrimp are shelled and deveined, dry them thoroughly between paper towels. Place the shrimp in a zip top plastic bag.
  2. Mix the remaining ingredients together in a small bowl. Pour the marinade into the bag with the shrimp. Seal the bag and refrigerate for at least 2 - 3 hours or as long as 4 -5.
  3. Heat a grill basket over a medium high fire. Spray lightly with olive oil non-stick spray. Remove the shrimp from the marinade and add to the grill basket. Discard the marinade.
  4. Cook, stirring frequently and gently. Move the basket around the grill as needed to keep the heat uniform. Cook until the shrimp turn pink and curl up slightly. This should take 7 - 10 minutes or so. Do not over cook.
  5. If you are using a broiler, give them 3 minutes or so than flip them and give them 3 -4 minutes more they should be pretty in pink and slightly curled up.
  6. Bake these little beauties at 375 degrees for 5 - 8 minutes or so turning half way through.
  7. Remove the shrimp from their heat source and arrange on a platter. Serve with picks as an appetizer. These can also be served as a main dish with side dishes of your choice.
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DIGITAL CAMERAI did make these again, because you really can’t have too much of a good thing. I paired it with an artichoke and tomato panzanella salad for a dinner that was quite wonderful. So this is the appetizer that can easily become  a meal. However you want to enjoy it, you’ll find that it is easy to prepare. As long as you have a few hours to spare for the marinating, it’s quick, too.

Birthdays are a once a year event, but meals cooked with love should happen every day.

                                                           Love, Mama D