Babish Shrimp Scampi

Meanwhile, add 2 tablespoons of butter to a medium skillet. Heat over medium heat and once melted, add the breadcrumbs. Cook until the breadcrumbs are toasted, about 4-6 minutes. Reserve until ready to use.In a medium bowl, combine 1 teaspoon salt and baking soda. Add the shrimp and toss to combine. Allow the shrimp to dry brine for 20-40 minutes at room temperature.

Using tongs, stir the pasta into the sauce. Add ¼ cup of pasta water, then stir the pasta until the sauce becomes thick, glossy, and homogenous. If the sauce becomes too thick or separates, add another ¼ cup of pasta water.
Add the shrimp one at a time and cook for 30 seconds on each side, then transfer the shrimp to a separate plate. At this point, the shrimp will only be par-cooked.

In a small saucepot, add the wine, bay leaf, peppercorns, and reserved shrimp shells. Bring the wine to a simmer and continue cooking for 5-10 minutes or until the wine is reduced by half in volume. Then, turn off the heat, strain, and reserve until ready to use.Additionally, we and our advertising partners store and/or access information on your device and also process personal data, like unique identifiers, browsing activity, and other standard information sent by your device including your IP address. This information is collected over time and used for personalized ads, ad measurement, audience insights, and product development specific to our ads program.Hello there! We take your privacy seriously, and want to be as transparent as possible. So: We (and our partners) use cookies to collect some personal data from you. Some of these cookies we absolutely need in order to make things work, and others you can choose in order to optimize your experience while using our site and services. It’s up to you!If this sounds good to you, select \”I Agree!\” below. Otherwise, you can get more information, customize your consent preferences, or decline consent by selecting \”Learn More\”. Note that your preferences apply only to Tumblr. If you change your mind in the future you can update your preferences any time by using the Privacy link beneath each ad. One last thing: Some of your data may be processed by our advertising partners based on legitimate interests instead of consent, but you can object to that by choosing \”Learn More\” and then disabling the Legitimate Interests toggle under any listed Purpose or Partner on their respective settings pages.

The scampi itself was tasty, and I especially loved the pop of texture from the panko breadcrumbs. The addition of tarragon and marjoram added a licorice-like freshness that elevated the whole thing and made it sing. The sauce had a nice consistency that coated the pasta perfectly without feeling wet or too dry. But at the end of the day, the recipe was just too much work without enough payoff. Compared to the simpler recipes I tried, it wasn’t any better. If you want to make a scampi recipe from Babish, I recommend trying his simpler version and saving yourself some time.
Meanwhile, add the reserved shrimp shells, wine, a bay leaf, and peppercorns to a pan. Bring to a simmer and cook until the wine is reduced by half. Strain the stock and set it aside. One of Rea’s videos features two versions of shrimp scampi: one simple and one more complex. Both versions looked delicious, but I was especially interested in trying the complex one as part of our recipe showdown. It features all of the classic ingredients found in most shrimp scampi recipes, plus a few unique additions, like tarragon and toasted panko. The recipe looked like no scampi I’d ever had before and I was eager to try it out. I headed into my kitchen and cooked it up. In another skillet, heat olive oil until shimmering. Add your brined shrimp and quickly sear just until par-cooked, then transfer onto a plate. Add minced shallots, red pepper flakes, and thinly sliced garlic to the pan and cook for just a minute. Add your infused wine mixture and let it simmer while you cook your pasta. (Make sure to reserve some pasta water for later.)Babish’s “complex” shrimp scampi is pretty involved and involves several steps. You’ll start by peeling the shrimp and reserving the shells in a separate bowl. Add salt and baking soda to the peeled shrimp and let them brine at room temperature. (This is said to improve the shrimp’s flavor and texture.)To finish the pasta, add butter and lemon juice to the sauce. Add your seared shrimp and let them simmer in the sauce until fully cooked. Add salt and pepper to taste and stir your cooked pasta into the sauce. Toss the pasta with the sauce and add some reserved pasta water until the sauce is thick and glossy. Finish the pasta with the toasted breadcrumbs, lemon zest, chopped tarragon, marjoram, and parsley.

I’m a firm believer that shrimp scampi should be a low-effort, high-reward meal, but that wasn’t the case with this recipe. (Then again, what else would you expect from a recipe called “complex” shrimp scampi?) Compared to the other scampi recipes I tested, this one took twice as long to make, called for way more ingredients, and required multiple pans. I admit that I thoroughly enjoyed eating it, but I’m not sure it’s worth the fuss.
If you’ve been on the internet anytime during the last five years, chances are you’ve heard of Basics with Babish. Filmmaker Andrea Rea created the Youtube channel (now called Babish Culinary Universe) that highlights recipes he creates based on food from movies and TV shows. The channel now has an array of culinary videos featuring guest chefs and food celebrities that amass millions of views.

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