Really, it’s a marvel of applications. Create one creamy, savory garlic-butter sauce flecked with chopped cilantro, and use it for both parts of today’s meal, the shrimp and the baguette. Use the same grill even to cook both. One sauce, two creations – Shrimp Scampi and Garlic Bread. What a bang for that particular buck!
AllRecipes thought so too when it brought to light this backyard riff on the classic pasta dish in its June/July 2019 issue. Actually, those instructions left the bread unadorned. Grilled, yes, but otherwise plain. With plenty of luscious garlic butter left over from the marinade, the situation begged for innovation, and fortunately, a little – quite a little, actually – was on hand.
Begin with a good baguette supplied by your local boulangerie (or supermarket bakery for those of you not struggling under tons of pretense – help!). Slice on the diagonal, comme ça. What’s with all these French terms in an Italian-American recipe? Odd. Anyway:
Thus prepared, apply a generous dose of herbed garlic butter (yes, the very same that infuses the shrimp) and set next to the shellfish on the grill. Introduce the fire and culinary magic soon will favor you.
The grill’s part in this elevation cannot be overvalued. A slight char not only contrasts nicely with the butter’s smoothness, but the flash of intense heat also serves a structural purpose, in that it seals the shrimp and the bread, sending flavor and moisture inward, where they’ll do the most good.
With a relatively modest shopping list (compared to the journal’s normal course, anyway), it’s possible to assemble a satisfying and surprisingly – perhaps – sophisticated meal. One sauce does it all, giving the sweet shrimp a spiced kick and turning a mere baguette into garlic bread. How’s that for efficiency? (*1)
Grilled Shrimp Scampi
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup freshly-squeezed lemon juice
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley, plus more for garnish (*2)
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 1-and-1/2 pounds large shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 1 baguette, or a similar thin, crusty bread
- coarse salt, to taste (optional)
Put oil, lemon juice, parsley, garlic, black pepper and red pepper in a large zip-top bag. Add the shrimp, force out as much air as possible, then seal the bag. Put in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. (*3)
Lightly oil the grate, then preheat the grill to its highest setting.
Remove the shrimp from the marinade and thread onto skewers. (*4) Brush one side of the baguette generously with some of the marinade and set aside. Discard the rest of the marinade.
Lower the grill flame to medium and put the shrimp-laden skewers on the grill. After two or three minutes, flip the shrimp and put the bread on the grill.
After about 90 seconds, flip the bread so the buttered side is on the grill. Another minute or so, and both the shrimp and the bread will be ready.
Remove from the grill, sprinkle the shrimp with additional parsley and coarse salt (if using), and serve.
1 – A slightly-abridged quote from an early Bond film (“How’s that for Japanese efficiency?”) As readers seem disproportionately to be women – at least those who comment are, most of you probably have no idea what the, um…heck it is I’m talking about. Your indulgence, please, for a male obsession.
2 – Parsley works, but cilantro does so with greater distinction and style. Why settle for harsh bitterness when you can have complex tastiness?
3 – Half an hour only, if you please. Any longer, and the lemon juice starts to turn the uncooked shrimp mushy.
4 – Double skewers, as shown above, prevent the shrimp from curling as it cooks. Also, if you’re using bamboo or other wooden skewers, be sure to soak them for half an hour beforehand to prevent them from burning.