I Go Where The Muse Takes Me….

I still have plans for the stew and casserole I promised but the placard outside Whole Foods announced: wild caught shrimp $4.99 per pound.  The muse called and I answered!  It’s shrimp season…yes, shrimp has a season.  In the days before the revolting abomination that is farm raised shrimp people actually waited until this time of year to enjoy those tasty little critters.  Shrimp, shrimp…that’s literally what shrimp scampi translates to.  So in an effort not to be redundant I’ve named this dish Oven Roasted Scampi.  The following recipe was inspired by Ina Garten’s Roasted Shrimp Cocktail and Lydia Bastianich’s Scampi Alla Buonavia but adapted to be Gastroparesis-friendly…with only 1 tablespoon of butter in the entire dish!

Shrimp are classified by “U” number…U10-12, U20-25 or in this case U31-40.  The U number refers to how many shrimp there are per pound.  Larger shrimp have a smaller U number.  At U31-40, the shrimp I purchased from Whole Foods were about the size of peel and eat shrimp. I prefer to buy shrimp raw with the shells and heads, if I’m lucky.  Last year they had raw, whole, wild shrimp (with the heads!) at Whole Foods…such a treat to find up here in New England you would have thought they were encrusted with diamonds with the way I reacted. Shrimp shells (and the heads!) are loaded with flavor and easy to transform into the quickie shrimp stock that provides a savory boost to this dish and any seafood dish, soup or stew.  Simply peel and devein shrimp with a pair of kitchen scissors by cutting down the back, peeling off the shell leaving the tail portion attached then scraping out the vein.

Hubby and I enjoyed our Oven Roasted Scampi with chunks of french bread to sop up all the saucy goodness.  For a complete meal spoon shrimp and pan sauce over very well cooked orzo pasta and spinach…and have some bread on hand for sopping.

Quickie Shrimp Stock

Makes approximately 2 1/2 cups.  The Oven Roasted Scampi only needs 1/2 cup.  Freeze the remaining shrimp stock for future use.

Shells from 2 pounds raw shrimp

3 cups water

2 bay leaves

1/2 lemon

1 onion, finely chopped

1 large clove garlic, smashed

1 sprig fresh thyme (can substitute generous pinch of dried)

1 sprig fresh tarragon (optional…I had it already, feel free to substitute dry)

a few peppercorns

pinch red pepper flakes (optional)

Place all ingredients in a saucepan, cover with water and bring to a boil.  Simmer for 30 minutes.  Strain and cool.

Oven Roasted Scampi

Serves 4

2 pounds shrimp, peeled and deveined, tails left intact  (I used U31-40 shrimp)

3 cloves garlic, grated to a paste using a microplane

1 tablespoon butter

sprigs of fresh thyme

1/2 cup Quickie Shrimp Stock

1/4 cup dry white french vermouth

1 tablespoon lemon juice

zest of 1 lemon, grated using a microplane

salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 475 degrees.  Combine butter and garlic into a paste.  Set aside.  Spray a large baking dish with olive oil cooking spray (I used a large porcelain casserole the size of a large lasagna pan).  Spread shrimp out in a single layer.  Lay sprigs of thyme over shrimp.  Combine shrimp stock, vermouth, lemon juice and lemon zest.  Pour over shrimp.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Dot garlic butter over casserole.  Bake until shrimp are pink and firm, approximately 5 to 10 minutes or longer depending on size of shrimp and how cold they were when they went in the oven.  Toss to coat shrimp with sauce and transfer shrimp and sauce to a serving dish.

Nutritional Information Per Serving:

253 calories, 5.3 grams fat, 0.1 grams fiber, 47.6 grams protein

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2 responses to “I Go Where The Muse Takes Me….

  1. Sounds delicious! And now I’ll never say “shrimp scampi” again. Thanks for the tip! So how long are shrimp in season?

  2. Wild American shrimp are available from April until January…but I never really see them up here in abundance or for that price except during the holidays…of course they’re always previously frozen when they get to us. I have a 2 pound bag of shrimp in the freezer for later…wish I had more room in there!