Have you seen the news that Ina Garten has a new cookbook coming out, this one framed around her relationship with her husband Jeffrey? I’m not even embarrassed to admit that I gasped out loud when Laura clued me in, and I think most if not all Ina fans probably felt similarly. I also think most if not all Ina fans could make a convincing argument that all of her previous cookbooks have been about her relationship with Jeffrey, but to have one totally truly devoted to it? Be still my heart! There’s a lot to love about this particular marriage, from the gorgeous Hamptons house to the sweet food related gestures to the annual trips to Paris to the props they got on 30 Rock, but what I like best is how genuinely–aspirationally!–delighted by each other they seem after so many years together. I am so looking forward to this new book, especially since I’m confident that it will be full of more genuinely delightful recipes like this one, for baked shrimp scampi.
I do have to admit that I haven’t yet made this recipe for a romantic dinner, Ina and Jeffrey style, in furtherance of my own marriage. Rather I’ve added it to my roster of dishes perfect for simple entertaining, and have happily made it twice for company. It’s easy and elegant, and can be put together ahead of when you need to bake it, which makes it perfect for the kind of relaxed dinner party I hope to have more and more of.
This recipe is a take on traditional shrimp scampi and has all the deelish flavors–garlic and shallot, lemon, white wine, parsley–but skips the pasta. Which is especially nice if you’re someone like me who tends to fall back on pasta dishes for quick company meals and wants to mix it up. I like to serve it with a simple green salad (not coincidentally, my favorite vinaigrette recipe is also one of Ina’s) and lots of toasty bread on the side to soak up all the garlicy buttery goodness.
Ina’s baked shrimp scampi is blissfully simple to put together, another huge entertaining plus. It really only involves four steps: prepping the shrimp, tossing them in a mix of olive oil and wine, mushing up a flavorful butter and breadcrumb topping, and putting the whole thing together. All of that can be done in advance, and then you only need to put it in the oven for tenish minutes once it’s dinner time. Another minute under the broiler gives you a deliciously crunchy crispy top, and you’re ready to eat. As a very wise woman has very frequently said, how easy is that?
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 (1½ sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
4 teaspoons minced garlic (4 cloves)
¼ cup minced shallots
3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary leaves
¼ 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
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, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon of pepper until combined.
Starting from the outer edge of a 14-inch oval gratin dish (I used a pie pan, and it worked like a charm), 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.