Are you as ready for spring as I am? Here’s a lovely pairing of classic Italian shrimp scampi with artichokes that is sheer genius and perfect for the season!
This recipe for shrimp scampi that showcases one of spring’s first arrivals is a client favorite and sure to get you rave reviews. It’s adapted from The Food You Crave by Ellie Krueger of the Food Network and is scaled for an elegant dinner for two.
The addition of baby artichokes to this classic Italian-American dish is sheer genius by Ellie. Baby artichokes are beginning to appear in markets everywhere. Artichokes pair well with something acidic such as the lemon juice used in shrimp scampi and also with something creamy, such as the butter that is often used.
Ellie’s recipe calls for frozen or canned artichokes. Those can be used in a pinch, however artichokes have a delicate flavor that is best enjoyed fresh. In a dish like this, opt for frozen over canned–canned artichokes have very little of the delicate artichoke flavor remaining.
Baby artichokes may look intimidating at first, but they are actually quite user-friendly and cook much faster than large, full-grown artichokes. All you need to do after washing the artichokes is to remove the outermost leaves until you get to the pale green that runs halfway up the artichoke. Cut off the stem then trim any rough edges around the base of the artichoke where you removed the leaves. Cut off the top of the artichoke about ¾ of an inch down from the tip. Immediately submerge into potent acidulated (preferably lemon) water to prevent browning.
If you’re still concerned about handling this specialty produce item, this You Tube video will help you through the process.
Ellie’s recipe does not call for butter, however, it doesn’t quite seem like shrimp scampi without it. Just use a small amount of the real thing if you’re watching your weight or use a light butter product such as Land O’Lakes Light Butter instead.
Shrimp scampi is generally served over pasta such as linguine, but rice also works well. All you need on the side is a crisp salad of baby greens or green vegetable.
4 large lemons
1 package of baby artichokes (usually 9 count)
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 small shallots, thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup dry white wine
3/4 pound large shrimp, peeled, deveined and tail removed
4 tablespoons softened butter, regular or light
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (or to taste)
1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
Fill a small mixing bowl with water. Juice the lemons and place the juice of 3 of the lemons in the water. Reserve the juice of the remaining lemon.
Trim the baby artichokes. Remove the tough outermost leaves until pale green appears about
half way up the artichoke. Cut off the stem and trim the rough edges at the base where the leaves were removed. Cut off the top of the artichoke about 3/4 of an inch down from the tip. Immediately submerge in the lemon water. When finished trimming all the artichokes, cut each one into quarters and immediately place back in the acidulated water.
Transfer artichokes and 1 cup of the acidulated water to a skillet or sauté pan. Season with salt and black pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer 8-10 minutes or until artichokes are easily pierced with a knife. Drain in a colander and set aside.
Heat olive oil over medium-high heat in the skillet or sauté pan. Add the shallots and cook 8-10 minutes or until softened, being careful not to brown. Add the garlic and drained artichokes and cook briefly, about 30 seconds. Add the white wine and the reserved lemon juice. Bring to a boil, cook 1 minute. Reduce heat to low, stir in the shrimp and cook gently until the shrimp are cooked through. Stir in the butter, red pepper flakes and parsley. Adjust seasoning if necessary with salt. Serve immediately.