Friday, January 1, 2010

Cookin' With Leo

By Leo C. Helmer

Skillet Scampi with Linguine

Well now, you all know I don’t do too many fish dishes. My Dear Sweet Italian Fairy Godmother might know of this dish, but then I ain’t heard from her since last summer, she must be in Aztec Annie’s territory somewhere in South America, staying warm, wherever. Now then, if you live deep in the heart of Texas where all the sand and oil is you wouldn’t want fish if it was give away. Fish, around here, is probably shipped in from the East or West coast, maybe even the Gulf Of Mexico, but we are too far away from all them places here in Sandy West Texas. By the time any fish got here it would be pretty dead. Well, there are a few lakes not too far away, but then I ain’t no fisherman. Seems one day, I found out some of them big stores in Odessa or Midland get some pretty good shrimp. Shrimp gets there in frozen containers from where it is caught, wherever, so it can’t be too dead. Anyway Shrimp is a bit different from your everyday fish. You can buy it still in the shell, or if you don’t want to mess with peeling and all that, at the deli counter you can get them all peeled and ready to boil and fix in a lot of ways. So here is one of them.

Scampi is easy. It takes a little prep time with the shrimp but, from there, It combines intense flavors into an easy, one-skillet meal from stove to table. This takes about 30 minutes.


    Kosher salt

    1 ½ pounds linguine

    5 tablespoons good-quality extra-virgin olive oil

    6 tablespoons unsalted butter

    3 tablespoons minced fresh garlic (about 8 or 9 cloves)

    2 pounds large shrimp, peeled and deveined

    ½ teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper

    ¼ teaspoon hot red pepper flakes

    ¼ cup fresh flat-leaf parsley

    ¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

    ¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese


Bring to a boil a large pot of water seasoned with 1 tablespoon of kosher salt, add the linguine, and cook until al dente, 7 to 10 minutes. Drain, run under cool water, drain again, place the linguine back in the pot and toss in 1 tablespoon olive oil. Set aside, keeping warm. Melt the butter with the remaining olive oil in a 10” to 13” well seasoned cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and sauté for 3 minutes, being careful not to burn. Add the shrimp, 1 teaspoon of kosher salt, and the pepper; sauté until the shrimp begin to turn pink, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from the heat and toss with red pepper flakes, parsley, lemon juice, and Parmesan cheese. Pour the shrimp mixture over the cooked linguine, tossing to combine, and serve immediately.

Enjoy One Of Leo’s Few And Far Between Fish Recipes

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