Baked Shrimp Scampi

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Wow, am I delinquent on my posting lately. So, let’s just pretend that didn’t happen and focus on the food!

I’ve had a crazy last month or so, partly due to a wonderful two-week visit from my parents. I made this Barefoot Contessa baked shrimp scampi for dinner soon after they arrived, and along with my aunt and uncle, we gobbled up the whole thing. Yes, the WHOLE thing. The shrimp was buttery and sweet, with a wonderful kick from the shallots and garlic and great crunch from the panko bread crumbs. I served this with a salad and yummy fresh bread — it was perfect, and is definitely a “make-again” in my book.

Shrimp is one of my favorite seafoods, but they can overcooked easily, and end up tough. One of the reasons this dish is so awesome is the shrimp are cooked *just* to the right point where they are tender and sweet and practically melt in your mouth. Squeeze some lemon over it when you serve, and that kick of acid is the perfect finisher.

I recommend this for when you have company — it’s an impressive dish but really easy to prep and takes next to no time to cook, so you’re not torn away from the action for long. Bon appetit!

Baked Shrimp Scampi

Ingredients

  • 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

Directions
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees 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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Sole Meuniere and Roasted Asparagus, Fingerling Potatoes, Fennel and Green Beans

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Let me start by saying I’m pretty excited about this post. This meal was absolutely delicious. And fairly easy, too! I have been craving fish lately, and this simple, classic French preparation — sole meuniere — sounded perfect. I’ve also been wanting to try some classic French dishes, so this was perfect. Meuniere refers to both the method of dredging the fish in seasoned flour before cooking, and to the sauce — a mixture of brown butter, lemon and parsley. I was a fan of both.

This is an Ina Garten recipe, and I love her simple, fresh dishes. The fish — I made the extra effort to get sole, which involved going to Whole Foods and spending more than I usually do on fish — was absolutely delicious, and worth the money. It was mild and so tender it melted in my mouth. To cook the sauce, you first brown the butter in the skillet, then add the fish and cook for just 2 minutes a side, and add lemon juice and zest. It was so full of lemony acid goodness, and a real hit of flavor. Loved it!

I accompanied the fish with roasted vegetables, also an Ina Garten — asparagus, green beans, fennel and fingerling potatoes. It was the perfect side dish. The veggies get caramelized and delicious when you roast them, and they’re full of great flavor that you just don’t get when you saute. And the Parmesan cheese at the end gets nice and crunchy on top — yum!

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TW’s Tips

  • If you must reheat the fish for leftovers, please, pretty please, do not defile it with the microwave. Heat a skillet over low heat and slowly heat it through. You’ll be glad you did. It’s oh-so-better than rubbery, overcooked fish.
  • Using unsalted butter REALLY makes a big difference here. I am the proof — I don’t normally buy unsalted, but when I used salted butter to make the first two pieces of fish last night, it was a little bit too salty. Tonight I made the remaining two pieces and stopped at the store to get unsalted butter. Big difference. Much better. (And I’m a salt fiend, so listen to me!)
  • For the veggies, I couldn’t find haricots verts, so I used regular green beans and it was just fine.

Sole Meuniere

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 fresh sole fillets, 3 to 4 ounces each
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 6 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (3 lemons)
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley

Directions

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees F. Have 2 heat-proof dinner plates ready.

Combine the flour, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper in a large shallow plate. Pat the sole fillets dry with paper towels and sprinkle one side with salt.

Heat 3 tablespoons of butter in a large (12-inch) saute pan over medium heat until it starts to brown. Dredge 2 sole fillets in the seasoned flour on both sides and place them in the hot butter. Lower the heat to medium-low and cook for 2 minutes. Turn carefully with a metal spatula and cook for 2 minutes on the other side. While the second side cooks, add 1/2 teaspoon of lemon zest and 3 tablespoons of lemon juice to the pan. Carefully put the fish filets on the ovenproof plates and pour the sauce over them. Keep the cooked fillets warm in the oven while you repeat the process with the remaining 2 fillets. When they’re done, add the cooked fillets to the plates in the oven. Sprinkle with the parsley, salt, and pepper and serve immediately.

Roasted Vegetables: Fennel, Fingerling Potatoes, Asparagus and Green Beans

Ingredients

  • 2 small fennel bulbs, tops removed
  • 1 lb small potatoes
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
  • 1 lb thin string beans (French/haricots verts)
  • 1 bunch thin asparagus, ends removed, cut diagonally into 3-inch pieces
  • 1/4 cup fresh parmesan cheese

Directions

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Cut the fennel bulbs into 6 wedges each, cutting through the core to keep the wedges intact. Place on a sheet pan. Cut the potatoes in half length-wise and place them on the pan with the fennel. Drizzle the olive oil on the vegetables, then sprinkle with 2 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon pepper. Toss with your hands.

Roast the vegetables for 25 – 30 minutes, until the potatoes are tender, tossing once while cooking. Toss the string beans and asparagus with the roasted vegetables and roast for another 10 – 15 minutes, until the vegetables are tender. Sprinkle on the Parmesan cheese and roast for another minute or two until the cheese melts.