I am about to confess something that might throw any culinary expertise of mine into question: I’ve never made shrimp scampi. I’ve had ideas about how to make it, because I’ve eaten my share of this delectable seafood pasta, and can taste lemons, butter, white wine, shrimp, garlic and herbs. How hard can it be?
Perhaps you’d be impressed if I said it was a feat of kitchen wizardry that required me to draw deeply from whatever foodie foundations I had within me. Truth be told, it was delightfully easy, y’all. So easy, in fact, that a famished preacher lady could whip it up after Zumba class and be eating in under 30 minutes. I decided that shrimp scampi is elegant all on its own, but that for a nice textural variety, homemade herbed breadcrumbs would be a welcome addition. The result was one of those dishes where you uncontrollably say “YUM” to no one in particular with each sumptuous bite. The ease with which this impressive dinner came together just makes it all the more appealing.
Shrimp Scampi with Herbed Breadcrumbs
1⁄2 pound fresh shrimp, peeled and deveined
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons butter
1⁄2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1⁄2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
4 slices of bread, pulsed in food processor until the texture of crumbs
1 tablespoon olive oil
zest and juice of 1 lemon
1⁄2 cup dry white wine
1⁄2 pound linguine pasta
salt and pepper
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook linguine until al dente, about 9 minutes. Drain. In the meantime, heat butter in a large skillet on medium low until melted. Add garlic and stir constantly (to avoid burning) for a few minutes. Add shrimp, red pepper flakes and salt and pepper. Saute until shrimp are nearly done, which will only take a few minutes. While shrimp are cooking, prepare the breadcrumbs. Toss pulsed bread with olive oil, a pinch of salt and a generous sprinkling of pepper on a baking sheet in an even layer. Bake at 400 degrees until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Add fresh parsley and toss to combine. Now, back to that sumptuous scampi: add white wine and bring heat to medium, cooking until wine is reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Add lemon zest. Add cooked and drained pasta to the scampi skillet, and spritz with fresh lemon juice. Adjust salt and pepper as needed (I needed 1⁄2 teaspoon of salt and a teaspoon of pepper). Toss well to combine. Serve topped with herbed breadcrumbs.
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The Rev. Whitney Wilkinson is pastor of Cameron Presbyterian Church.