Prawn Scampi *with Parsley*
This is another recipe inspired by the legendary red-sauce restaurant, Carbone, in New York City. My spicy rigatoni vodka is a take on their celebrated staple dish but this one is a little more *under* the radar: the shrimp scampi. When I initially ordered their shrimp scampi, I was expecting, well, regular sized shrimp in a bath of garlicky butter. Instead, I was completely surprised by two gigantic prawns with this parsley “spready” sauce draped over them, while also in a bath of garlicky butter. They were delicious and now here I am recreating them!
Before we get into the nitty gritty of this recipe, let’s talk about our beloved shrimp scampi. Shrimp scampi is a dish so popular that we even celebrate National Shrimp Scampi Day in the United States on April 29th (lol, are we good?) Soooo like, what’s scampi? According to the internet, Scampi is a crustacean in the lobster family common in the northeastern Atlantic. In Italy, scampi was traditionally prepared much like we prepare shrimp scampi today. When early Italian immigrants came to the United States, they weren’t able to find scampi so they replaced it with shrimp. And that’s how the name “shrimp scampi” came to be. It doesn’t really make sense, but it is what it is. In the US, shrimp scampi was often eaten with pasta and prepared with garlic, olive oil, white wine, and lemon. And that’s where our story of this prawn scampi begins.
The way we’re preparing this recipe is by taking jumbo king tiger prawns (a size down from lobster tails) and preparing them like we would a traditional shrimp scampi. Prawns and shrimp are technically the same thing, but these prawns are *massive.* Of course, you can prepare any kind of shrimp or prawn this way and you don’t have to use king tiger prawns, as they are pretty hard to find. Another thing I want to note is that this recipe is designed to be made on the stovetop since that’s the common way to make shrimp scampi, BUT you can grill them instead, then top with this sauce for the ultimate trip to flavor town, as my guy Guy would say.
By the way, I know parsley is a huge element of my version of shrimp scampi. But like all things in your home kitchen, it’s completely optional. If you want to leave it out completely, you can make this garlicky wine butter sauce without any parsley at all! In my Youtube, I honestly eyeballed everything because this is a dish that should be made to YOUR taste (how much garlic do you like? how much lemon do you like? how much white wine influence do you like? how much salt? etc…) However, I am putting a recipe below for your reference so you can make them as close to how I did.
Don’t forget to taste the sauce as you go!!!!! You will slay this recipe so long as you keep tasting and building flavors that you like.
If you want to serve this with pasta, please see the notes at the end of the recipe for how to do that!
|2lb shrimp or prawns, peeled or deveined (tails on or off to preference)|
|4 cloves of garlic, grated or minced|
|1/3cup olive oil|
|7tbsp unsalted butter *I used Kerrigold|
|3tbsp olive oil|
|4 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced|
|1/3cup dry white wine|
|Juice of 1/2 lemon|
|Salt to taste|
|1 bunch of Parsley, finely chopped|
Toss the prawns in the marinade, making sure they are fully coated in oil and garlic. Refrigerate and let marinate for 30 minutes-1 hour.
Remove the prawns from the marinade and dry them off with a paper towel on both sides. Season with a pinch of salt on both sides.
Heat a large skillet on medium high heat. Add 2 tbsp of butter and the olive oil to the pan and let the butter melt. Add the sliced garlic to the pan and season with a light pinch of salt.
Once the garlic is fragrant (about 2 minutes) adjust the heat to medium high. Add the prawns to the pan and cook for 1-2 minutes per side until pink but not fully cooked through. If using regular sized or smaller shrimp, skip this step and on to the wine. Remove the prawns from the skillet and put on a plate.
Pour wine and lemon juice into the pan and scrape any golden brown bits off the bottom of the pan with a spoon. Stir into the sauce and let the wine reduce by half.
Reduce the heat to medium low, then add the 4 tbsp of butter and season with another pinch of salt. Stir until the butter is melted and a sauce is formed. Add the shrimp back into the pan and baste with the melted butter sauce for 1-2 minutes, until the shrimp are fully cooked through. Remove the shrimp from the sauce and place in bowls or plates for serving. Pour a generous spoonful of the butter sauce on top. If serving with pasta, see notes at the bottom of the recipe for the next steps.
Add the parsley to the rest of sauce and stir together. Remove the sauce from the heat. Drape the parsley scampi sauce onto the shrimp and serve immediately!
If serving with pasta, remove the shrimp from the sauce and plate. Add al dente pasta and a small splash of pasta water into the butter mixture and toss until the pasta is coated. Turn the heat off. If using smaller shrimp, add the shrimp back into the pasta mixture and toss together. Finish it off with parsley to taste (I don't recommend using as much parsley as the original recipe if you're serving with pasta - instead, just top the pasta with more fresh parsley for garnish. If using larger prawns, plate the pasta and top with 2 prawns. garnish with more fresh parsley. Enjoy!