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Shrimp Scampi St. Augustine Style

Scampi is actually derived from a Greek word for a small lobster-like crustacean.  In modern times it has become used as a word for shrimp usually prepared in a wine, butter and garlic sauce.  In fact this preparation is so ubiquitous that many people think the term "scampi" refers to that style of cooking.  Giving all of that I suppose I can take license to call this dish scampi as well.

Based on a recipe by Tyler Florence (with only minor modifications), a long-time favorite chef, this comes together easily and deliciously.  I've added a touch of St. Augustine by substituting Datil chiles flakes for regular crushed red pepper flakes.  I'm also blessed with a Meyer lemon tree, but regular lemons work just fine.

¾ pound linguini (see notes)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
4 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1 large shallot, finely diced (see notes)
5 cloves garlic, finely diced
1 whole Datil chile, seeded and very finely diced (see notes)
~1 pound fresh shrimp, peeled and deveined (see notes)
½ cup dry white wine
1 lemon juiced
½ cup finely chopped parsley
Salt and pepper to taste

Cook the linguini very al dente (meaning fairly undercooked) and drain reserving 1 cup of pasta water.

In a large skillet melt 2 tablespoons butter in 2 tablespoons oil over medium-high heat.  Sauté the shallots until translucent, about 2 to 3 minutes.  Add the garlic and Datil chile and continue sautéing until aromatic, about 1 minute.  Season the shrimp with S&P and add them to the pan.  Cook until they turn pink, 2 to 3 minutes.  Remove the shrimp from the pan and set aside.

Add the wine and lemon juice and bring to a boil.  Add the remaining butter and oil.  When melted return the shrimp to the pan along with the parsley and toss well to combine.  Add the pasta and reserved water and return to a gentle simmer.

At this point we want the pasta to finish cooking in the sauce, it should absorb most of the liquid.  Doing this allows the pasta to absorb the wonderful flavors of butter, oil, wine, garlic and lemon.  Also remember to adjust the salt and pepper (see notes).

Notes:

  1. Thick pasta like linguini or fettuccini have more area for the butter sauce to coat, but any pasta will do.
  2. Do not use more than the recommended amount of pasta or all of the sauce will be absorbed leaving the dish too dry.
  3. Shallots are just onions.  If you don't have shallots in your kitchen use a small yellow onion.
  4. Datil chiles, like habaneros or scotch bonnets, have a distinctive smoky flavor.  Datils share their cousins incredible heat as well.  Any of these will work just as well.
  5. I used "jumbo" shrimp (25-30 count).
  6. Instead of making a sauce that I would serve over pasta I instead added the al dente pasta to the sauce and allowed it to finish cooking and drawing the flavorful sauce right into the pasta.

 

 

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