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Saturday, March 6, 2010

Shrimp Scampi with Artichokes and Basil

When I woke up this morning I could smell the scent of garlic on my pillow, then I remembered last night’s wonderful dinner of shrimp.  We have tried cooking shrimp before frozen from the bag or from our local grocery store, and the results are less than satisfactory.  Typically, the shrimp either are fishy smelling (old) or have no flavor at all, so why bother.

In preparation for cooking this dinner, I visited the local fish market and purchased two pounds of medium shrimp.  I could have purchased slightly smaller shrimp that were already shelled and de-veined, but I though I would do that work myself and save the extra $1 per pound.

Last night my wife and I returned from our 3-mile walk, and I started right in to shelling and de-veining the two pounds of shrimp.  An hour later, I was ready to start cooking!  What a tedious job that is, next time I will take the smaller shrimp and pay a little bit more.

This is a Paula Deen recipe from page 67 in The Deen Family Cookbook, so of course I started with the full stick of butter as directed.  Next time I would use about 3 /4-stick of butter and the results should still be great.  I heated the butter over medium-high heat, added the garlic, and cooked for about a minute.

Next into the frying pan went the 1 /3-cup of the white wine, some red pepper flakes (next time I will only use about 10 flakes), salt, and pepper.  This simmered for a couple of minutes.  While that was simmering, I dried the shrimp and squeezed out one third cup of basil paste.  When I went to the store to get the basil, there was no fresh basil, but a basil paste that comes in a squeeze tube.  So, I got that to try, why not! 

I quickly hand juiced a lemon that was in the refrigerator that I had already zested the outside for another meal.  I finally managed to open the giant jar of artichoke hearts that we had purchased at Costco.  The recipe calls for one cup of artichoke heart pieces, I added about one and a half cups, and next time I will add two cups to balance the shrimp.  I will also cut the artichoke pieces into smaller sections as some were to large. 

Into the frying pan went the shrimp and artichoke hearts and while it cooked, I stirred together all the ingredients until the shrimp turned pink.  Removing the frying pan from the heat, I stirred in the lemon juice and the basil paste.

I served the shrimp with the artichokes and basil sauce over brown rice with raw baby carrots on the side.  The flavor of the shrimp was fantastic!  The lemon and basil made a flavorful sauce on the shrimp and rice.  There was a little too much fire in the sauce, so as I mentioned, next time I will reduce the amount of red pepper flakes.

This recipe will easily serve four people and we have quite a bit left over for our lunch.  This recipe is quick to make (with pre-peeled and de-veined shrimp) and tastes wonderful.  It is a recipe that I will definitely will make again.

What do you think?  Should this recipe be served on the red (above) or the white plate?

Adventures In Food: Author: Kerry Howell 

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