Shrimp Scampi – New Direction

For years I cooked shrimp scampi from a 1999 Cooks Illustrated recipe.  This year however, I was cooking for more than two, so I went searching for a recipe that could be baked.

I googled  “Baked Shrimp Scampi” and landed on one created by Ina Garten.  Her recipe is quite simple but my adaption is even easier, which was exactly what I needed for Christmas lunch.

If I hadn’t made this for Christmas, I’d definitely serve it for a New Year’s Eve Dinner or New Year’s Day brunch.

About 2 1/2 pounds – 36 pieces (12 to 15 count) shrimp in the shell
3 tablespoons good olive oil
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup minced shallots
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 teaspoons minced garlic (4 cloves)
3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves
1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2/3 cup brioche bread crumbs
Lemon wedges, for serving

Preheat the oven to 425°F or 400°F convection.

Peel shrimp and devein if necessary.  Freeze the shells in a freezer bag and make shrimp stock later.*  Divide shrimp among 6 individual gratin dishes.  Sprinkle shrimp with a little freshly ground black pepper and place dishes on two sheet pans.  Allow the shrimp to sit at room temperature while making the butter and garlic mixture.

In a small sauté pan, heat butter and oil.  Sauté shallots for a couple of minutes or until translucent.  Add salt to taste, garlic, 1/2 the parsley, thyme, red pepper flakes, lemon zest and lemon juice and cook for about another minute, but not longer.

Divide the butter mixture evenly over the shrimp and sprinkle each the remaining parsley and then the bread crumbs.  Bake for 10 to 12 minutes until hot and bubbly.  If you like the top browned, place under a broiler for 1 minute.  Serve with lemon wedges.

*Shrimp Stock
Shrimp shells
2 carrots, preferably organic, chopped
4 sprigs parsley
1 small onion, peeled and diced
10 black peppercorns
1 bay leaf
1 stalk celery, chopped into 1-inch pieces

Place all ingredients in a pot.  Cover with cold water and bring to a simmer.  Simmer on low for about 45 minutes.  Strain, discarding solids.  Cool liquid down immediately.   Place in containers and freeze for future use.

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