The wonderful thing about shellfish is that most of it is so portable.
Easy to find, easy to carry and therefore easier talk yourself into for a quick and delicious meal in honor one of GR8RJax’s™ most storied tributes to acts piratical and fishing.
With all of the fantastic fresh shrimp about to come on the market, take advantage of our seasonal bounty with a easy dish that’s both light and packed with protein, healthy and fun to look at.
Read the list pages for step-by-step cooking instructions.
Here’s a list of ingredient:
- 3-4 lbs. of fresh Florida shrimp, 21-30 count of higher, raw and peeled
- 1 lb. angel hair pasta
- Fresh lemon
- Fresh garlic, minced
- Green olives, sliced
- Yellow & red sweet bell peppers, minced very fine
- Fresh green onions, sliced very thin
- Crushed red pepper flakes
- Sea salt
- Fresh cracked black pepper
- Extra virgin olive oil
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Scampi starts with shrimp
As with most seafood dishes, freshness matters. Choose shrimp that smell like the ocean. If they smell like fish, they’re best used for bait.
You can get more shrimp for the money if you buy then headed in the shell. For some dishes that require more cooking, it may be more convenient to pay just a little extra more to have them peeled.
Never buy your shrimp cooked already. Not even for shrimp cocktail.
Why angel hair pasta?
Although you can use any type of pasta with shrimp scampi, finer varieties make for light eating and more shrimp flavor.
The finest gauge of pasta, angel hair, or capellini, cooks to al dente in much less time than other, heavier gauges of pasta.
What are capers & pimentos?
Capers and pimentos add more flavor to your food than you know.
Capers are the edible flower buds of the caper bush. Shaped like little green balls, capers are used once they’ve been pickled and have a lemony, briny flavor that brightens the notes of seafood.
Pimentos, the red things that you see in green olives, come from sweet cherry peppers that have been cut into strips and brined.
Start the scampi
Plan to finish the scampi in more than one batch unless you have a really big skillet.
In a large skillet, heat olive oil and add a pinch of salt, cracked black pepper, and red pepper flakes.
Let the spices infuse the oil for 5-7 minutes, stirring as the pan and oil heat.
Add the veggies & spices
Sauté for about 5 minutes, then add the garlic, capers, pimiento, minced bell peppers.
Sauté for another 5 minutes, and add green olives and fresh lemon juice.
Add the shrimp, and stir and turn continuously.
Taste to adjust the seasoning as the shrimp cook. Many of the ingredients are salty.
When the meats of the shrimp turn white with orange to pink edges, they’re done.
As the shrimp finish, it’s time to start the pasta.
As soon as the shrimp are cooked, spoon the scampi into a large bowl and let it warm on the stove.
Be very careful not to over cook the shrimp as they get tough.
You know the shrimp are properly done when you bite into one, and you feel a faint pop as your teeth pierce the meat.
Now cook the pasta
Don’t start the pasta until all the shrimp are cooked.
In a pasta or stock pot, bring 4 quarts of salted water to a roiling boil. Add a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil to the water to keep the pasta from sticking together.
Once the water comes to a boil, add the pasta and stir. Reduce heat to medium and cook about 3 minutes.
Test for doneness. Stop the pasta about 2 minutes short of al dente.
Drain then plate the warm pasta and ladle the scampi over it. Garnish with green onions.
Serve immediately with fresh greens, crostini and a light-bodied beer like Peroni®.