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High in protein, low in fat

Quick-fix shrimp has best of both worlds

Published: Tuesday, May 1, 2012 4:59 p.m. CDT
Caption
(Photo by Susan M. Selasky/Detroit Free Press/MCT)
Shrimp scampi has a long history, but definitions vary, from how it’s prepared (shrimp shelled or not) and cooked (baked, broiled, sauteed) to what it’s cooked with.

(MCT) — What’s not to like about shrimp sautéed in butter with garlic?

Shrimp scampi has a long history, but definitions vary, from how it’s prepared (shrimp shelled or not) and cooked (baked, broiled, sautéed) to what it’s cooked with.

In Italian, scampi refers to varieties of small lobsters, including Dublin Bay prawns, according to the “The Food Lover’s Companion” by Sharon Tyler Herbst (Barron’s, $14.95).

On restaurant menus, scampi generally describes a dish where shrimp, usually large, is sautéed in butter, garlic, lemon juice and wine. Usually it’s with lots of garlic and butter. It’s super rich and delicious, but may not be the best dish to order on a date.

I often have shrimp tucked away in the freezer to take out at a moment’s notice. It’s great for a quick dinner or unexpected guests because it thaws and cooks quickly. One of the best aspects of shrimp scampi is that it’s ready in less than 45 minutes, start to finish.

Shrimp takes to all sorts of marinades. The key is not to leave it soaking for a long time, especially if the marinade contains citrus juices like lemon or lime — unless you’re making seviche, where the acidic juices are designed to cook the shrimp (or other firm fish).

Shrimp is a good source of protein, but it does contain a slightly high amount of cholesterol. But that’s not all bad. According to the American Heart Association website www.heart.org, “shrimp and crawfish have more cholesterol than most other types of seafood, but they’re lower in total fat and saturated fat than most meats and poultry.”

A moderate serving size of 5 to 6 ounces goes a long way, and that’s a hearty serving, depending on the size of the shrimp. Shrimp is sold by the number per pound. The larger the shrimp, the fewer per pound, and the smaller they are, the more you get. Think about how you intend to use the shrimp when deciding what size to buy.

You can bet that most shrimp sold at stores has been previously frozen. Some come presplit and deveined. If not, use a small pair of scissors to cut along the back through the shell and into the flesh so you can remove the dark vein. I keep a pair of cuticle scissors in a kitchen drawer for that purpose.

To give this dish added richness, I added some heavy whipping cream. The sauce should just coat the pasta. For a saucier dish, you can add more cream or some of the reserved pasta cooking water.

Correction: In last week’s Asparagus Quiche recipe, the eggs were omitted in the first line of the instructions. The instructions should have said: In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, half-and-half, cheese, Italian seasoning, flour, salt and pepper. Set aside.

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EASY LEMONY SHRIMP SCAMPI

Serves: 4 / Preparation time: 15 minutes / Total time: 45 minutes

8 ounces angel hair pasta

1 1/2 pounds large shrimp (12 to 15 per pound) in the shell

3 tablespoons olive oil

4 tablespoons dry white wine, divided

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/4 cup unsalted butter

1 heaping tablespoon minced garlic (about 4 medium cloves)

1/4 cup minced shallots

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1/3 cup heavy whipping cream

1/4 cup minced fresh parsley leaves

1 teaspoon grated lemon zest

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta according to package directions just until al dente.

While the water heats, peel the shrimp, leaving the tail intact, if desired. Devein the shrimp using a paring knife to make a slit on the back starting at the head and working toward the tail. Remove and discard the vein.

Place the shrimp in a mixing bowl and drizzle with olive oil, 2 tablespoons wine, salt and pepper. Set aside while you make the butter and garlic mixture.

In a large skillet, heat the butter until melted over medium heat. Add the garlic and sauté 1 minute; do not brown. Add the shallots and red pepper flakes and sauté 3 minutes until shallots are translucent. Add shrimp mixture, scraping the sides of the bowl to get some of the olive oil, wine, salt and pepper into the skillet. Cook the shrimp on each side until opaque. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons white wine and stir to scrape up any bits on the bottom of the skillet. Stir in the heavy cream, parsley, lemon zest and juice. Continue cooking until slightly thickened.

Reserve 1/2 cup of pasta cooking water and drain the pasta. Add the pasta to skillet and stir to coat with the sauce. The sauce should just coat the pasta and shrimp. Add some of the remaining pasta cooking water and more cream for a saucier dish.

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