Ina Garten’s Baked Shrimp Scampi


My mom went on a tour of North Luzon on official business and the province of Pangasinan was part of the trip. It is a coastal province where fishing is the primary form of livelihood. Dagupan City, being its capital prides itself with their famous Dagupan bangus or milkfish. I don’t contest that. The taste is really distinct. The flesh is incredibly sweet and fresh. Delicate and tender. We had a stock of the delicious Dagupan bangus and a surprise of humongous shrimps from the same province. It was huge (refer to the picture below)! Now, although our country is an archipelago and we are literally surrounded by ocean, seafood comes a bit expensive in the city. And because of that, this rare occasion of having mega shrimps at hand is something I do not take lightly. I want to make something special out of this bounty.

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I have always been a loyal fan of The Food Network but one of my go-to programs there is Ina Garten’s Barefoot Contessa. The recipes can easily be found in the network’s website and the instructions or ingredients may sound frightening but honestly, I have been usiing Ina’s recipes for quite sometime and as far as my memory goes, I cannot recall a recipe she had that did not work. My trust in her helped be decide to use her recipe for Baked Shrimp Scampi.

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I followed the recipe to the letter, making use of the eight jumbo shrimps instead of the regular-sized ones. And the verdict? We loved it! The topping specifically made the dish. The butter made the dish really rich but the added texture of the panko bread crumbs raised the bar higher. It was herbaceous but not to the point of medicinal and the onion and garlic gave the perfect balance to that. We ate it with roasted potato salad which complemented the rich scampi very well because of the acidic balsamic vinaigrette dressing. This is a really romantic dish in my opinion. Make this dish for a date and I’m sure that person will look forward to a lot more dates with you, that is, if you don’t mind having garlic and onions as a breath mint.

Once again, Ina Garten proved herself. Oh, and by the way, I successfully deveined a shrimp for the first time! Hooray for me!

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Serve this dish with a light salad or mixed vegetables with a more acidic dressing to have a well-rounded meal.

Baked Shrimp Scampi
From Ina Garten of Barefoot Contessa

Serves 6

2 pounds (12 to 15 per pound) shrimp in the shell
3 tablespoons good olive oil
2 tablespoons dry white wine
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
4 teaspoons minced garlic (4 cloves)
1/4 cup minced shallots
3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves
1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary leaves
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 extra-large egg yolk
2/3 cup panko (Japanese dried bread flakes)
Lemon wedges, for serving

Preheat the oven to 425°F.

Peel, devein, and butterfly the shrimp, leaving the tails on. Place the shrimp in a mixing bowl and toss gently with the olive oil, wine, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Allow to sit at room temperature while you make the butter and garlic mixture.

In a small bowl, mash the softened butter with the garlic, shallots, parsley, rosemary, red pepper flakes, lemon zest, lemon juice, egg yolk, panko, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper until combined.

Starting from the outer edge of a 14-inch oval gratin dish, arrange the shrimp in a single layer cut side down with the tails curling up and towards the center of the dish. Pour the remaining marinade over the shrimp. Spread the butter mixture evenly over the shrimp. 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.

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