Wednesday, December 20, 2023

Scampering Around with Shrimp.

In many Italian homes and restaurants, Shrimp Scampi is often served as a main dish or an appetizer, dependent upon whether or not it is served with pasta.  Many think that the term "scampi" describes how the dish is prepared; the shrimp sauteed in a marriage of olive oil, butter, garlic, lemon juice and white wine.  However, this is not so; scampi actually refers to a type of small lobster known as the Norway Lobster, or the Dublin Prawn if in Ireland.  Langoustines also fall into this family of seafood, and in the many areas, crawfish serve as the main focus. Whether the seafood being used is a lobster, prawn, langoustine or the simple shrimp; the overall preparation gives you a dish both rich in scent and flavor.

The Italian city of Genoa boasts a claim to fame for the origin of the scampi recipe.  During the late 1800s to early 1900s, almost four million Italians, mainly from the southern end of the boot, and Sicily, immigrated to the United States.  Even though Genoa is located in the northwestern region, recipes migrated throughout the country, and across the Adriatic Sea to Croatia, so why not the USA as well?  While Italians suffered discrimination, as all immigrants eventually did, the cuisines of this European nation were embraced by American citizens.

Shrimp Scampi is an excellent dish to serve as a romantic dinner for two.  It cooks up quickly, leaving plenty of time for the couple to have "we" time with each other.  A perfect holiday for this meal, you would think, is Valentine's Day; but many couples are alone together for the winter holidays such as Yule, Christmas, Kwanzaa and New Year's Eve.  I did not mention Hanukkah as I believe that this recipe may not fall within the dietary rules of the Hebrew tradition.  Then there are the anniversaries or birthdays that need celebrating; with this recipe, any time can be a good excuse to serve it.

So let me introduce you to Shrimp Scampi; the recipe, not the sea creature.


Shrimp Scampi


8 Tbsp. butter

2 Tbsp. olive oil

2 Tbsp. minced garlic

4 Tbsp. fresh, chopped parsley

1 Tbsp. grated red bell pepper

4 Tbsp. white wine

Pinch of salt and ground black pepper

2 lbs. medium to large shrimp; peeled and deveined

2 tsp. flour

1 tsp. lemon juice

1 lb. cooked linguine, keep warm


In a large skillet, medium-high heat, melt the butter with the oil; sauté garlic, parsley and bell pepper for 2 minutes; stirring constantly to keep garlic from browning. Add wine, salt, black pepper and shrimp; cook for 3-5 minutes or until shrimp turns pink. Stir in flour to thicken; add in lemon juice and linguine; toss to coat pasta and let cook 2 minutes.

Makes 4 servings.

With the winter holidays, many religions believe that only fish dishes should be served for Christmas Eve.  This is one recipe that should be added to the “Feast of the Seven Fishes”, and no one will complain.

Happy Holidays! from the Cokenour family.

Mary Cokenour


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