Baked Shrimp Scampi

When the first words out of your hubby’s mouth are “This is beyond restaurant quality,” you know you found yourself a winning dish!

In case you haven’t noticed we have been in a bit of a chicken rut.  I guess I wouldn’t necessarily call it rut, that somehow implies the chicken has been boring, or uninspired, or just plain awful. Which it has not been. It’s just that we seem on gravitating toward cooking lots of chicken (and even ordering it in!). So I was determined to get out of our “rut.” I trolled the cookbooks for dishes that did not include chicken and stumbled on this baked shrimp scampi recipe in Ina’s Garten’s Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics cookbook. One quick glance and it looked easy enough, plus it did not need too many ingredient purchases, so onto the week menu it went.

Luckily for me (and the hubby) I didn’t look too carefully at how much effort actually went into the dish or else it would have been cut immediately. Between butterflying shrimp to dicing/ chopping at least 5 different ingredients to make the butter, I felt like I was on some type of Top Chef challenge (and not in a good way). In fact, halfway through making the butter, I turned to the hubby and said I am NEVER making this recipe again!

But one bite of the finished product erased all of that. It was buttery, herby, lemony delciousness!  Paired perfectly with some sauteed spinach and crusty bread it transported just another weeknight dinner into a date night instantaneously.  The recipe says it serves 6, I halved it and the baking dish was completely cleaned. Anything this good deserves to become a household go-to and I think using my food processor will help cut back on the prep time for the butter.

After raving about the recipe to a few family members I figured it best to post it. Sorry Ina!

Baked Shrimp Scampi (adapted from Ina Garten’s Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics cookbook)

Serves 2 (this is how I made it)

3/4 of 1lb of shrimp (25 to 30 per pound) peeled and deveined with tails on

1 1/2 tbsp of olive oil

1 tbsp of white wine (Ina’s says dry but we only had a Viognier in the house it worked just fine)

Kosher salt and ground black pepper

6 tbsp of unsalted butter at room temperature

2 cloves of minced garlic

1/8 cup of minced shallots

1 1/2 tbsp of minced fresh parsley

1/2 tsp minced fresh rosemary leaves

1/8 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

1/2 tsp grated lemon zest

1 tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice

1 large egg yolk

1/3 cup panko bread crumbs

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees

Butterfly the shrimp by cutting around the outer curve of the shrimp so they open like a book. Cut the shrimp deep enough so they open but do not cut in half. Place the shrimp in a mixing bowl and toss gently with the olive oil, wine, salt and pepper. Allow to sit at room temperature while you make the butter.

In a small bowl, mash the softened butter with the garlic, shallots, parsley, rosemary, red pepper flakes, lemon zest, lemon juice, egg yolk, panko, salt and pepper until combined. (I have a feeling you do all of this in the food processor to save yourself tons of time)

Starting from the outer edge of a 10-inch oval gratin dish, arrange the shrimp in a single layer cut side down, the tails curling up and towards the center of the dish (see the shrimp pictures above if you are confused). Pour the remaining marinade over the shrimp. Spread the butter mixture evenly over the shrimp (we found we had a lot of butter for the dish so we used the extra to flavor the sauteed spinach – hubby gets credit for that idea). Bake for 10 minutes and place under the broiler for 1 minute.

Enjoy! Ina recommends serving with a lemon wedge but I don’t think you need it. What I do think you need is some bread to soak up the amazing sauce.

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