Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Romance by the Sea

I wonder why when it's time to make a special dinner for my sweetie that my mind always jumps to seafood. Not just fish, either. Tunafish sandwiches definitely do not qualify as romantic food. Shellfish spells romance. Crab, shrimp, and lobster - ah, lobster, which is, unfortunately, not the topic of this post.

Maybe it's because I grew up in an arid valley and my only opportunity to have good seafood was on our annual pilgrimage to the sole seafood restaurant in town for a birthday dinner. I always ordered the same thing - a cup of clam chowder and a 1/2 a crab. I was extremely resistant to trying new things and I ate small portions. The former trait I'm trying to overcome and the latter I'm working on returning to.

When I had to come up with a menu for a romantic dinner, I thought immediately of this recipe for Shrimp Scampi I got from Cooking Light many years ago, back when they thought margarine was better for you than butter. I put the butter back in. The scampi has a wonderful garlicy flavor and is easy to prepare. The most time-consuming part of it is peeling, deveining, and butterflying the shrimp. After that it goes together in a snap.

Shrimp Scampi

2 lbs large unpeeled shrimp (48 shrimp)
3 Tbsp butter
1 cup chopped red bell pepper
8 garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup mincced fresh parsley
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
6 cups hot cooked angel hair pasta (about 3/4 lb. uncooked)

Peel shrimp, leaving the tails intact. Starting at tail end, butterfly underside of each shrimp, cutting to, but not through, back of shrimp. Arrange 8 shrimp, cut sides up, in each of 6 gratin dishes; set aside. I don't own gratin dishes and didn't want my bowls to explode under the broiler, so I used a Pyrex 8 x 11 pan.

Set water to boil for cooking angel hair pasta. The pasta can cook while the shrimp is under the broiler.

Melt butter in a small skillet over medium heat. Add bell pepper and garlic; saute 2 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in wine, parsley, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Spoon wine mixture evenly over each serving; sprinkle paprika over shrimp, and broil 6 minutes or until shrimp is done. Using the one, larger dish, I took it out after 6 minutes and stirred, to uncover any uncooked bits, and put it back under the broiler for another 2 minutes.

Serve over the angel hair pasta. Yield: 6 servings (8 shrimp and 1 cup pasta each)


Anonymous said...

What a wonderful dinner it was! Tasty and filling but leaving enough room for desert. Thank you for your wonderful "Mad Hot" cooking skills. -- Bruce

Anonymous said...

What delicious photographs and recipes. I'll put this on my short list.