And finally...in perfect Culebra time, a catch up from last What's in That...Friday? and the weekend that followed (because...what else would it do?)
I've stolen this meal from my friend Mike, who made it for his daughter's birthday, because it's her favorite meal he makes. It's also the favorite of about 30 people I know but I was one of the lucky ones in a much smaller group for dinner that night. I'm so glad she was born so I could eat this again.
Shrimp, you say? Shrimp, MJ, is not inexpensive! And you're right, it's not. Unless you catch it yourself, which...no, we didn't catch this ourselves (but I used to, once upon a Florida Mather's Bridge time and if you can, you should). Back to money. Yes, a good sized shrimp in a good sized bag is a chunk of change. But used judiciously (and Mike never uses shrimp that way, thank god - though I do for myself - sort of), a nice sized bag of shrimp can go a long way. Plus, there are sales on shrimp all the time (I once lived in Kansas and there were sales on shrimp even there - close your agape mouth, yes, I lived in Kansas once - convincing me to never leave the shore too far away again). Plus, the rest of the meal is pennies! So, if you want a treat - and you should want one once in a while - life is too short to not have treats - this is your meal!
As far as I know, all Mike does is mince very finely a LOT of garlic in a LOT of butter (yes, life is also too short to not eat the real stuff). Saute your garlic until it is translucent. Somewhere in there, cook enough spaghetti (I like angel hair, the thinner the better) for however many you are cooking for. Salt & pepper to taste.
Garlic bread should be a nice long loaf sliced in half and slathered with more minced garlic that has been sauted in more butter. Put it under the broiler until the tops brown. It happens REALLY fast so keep an eye on it! Some people like to put cheese, usually a parmesan and maybe some fresh chopped parsley on their garlic bread. I'm into plain but I wouldn't turn down either or both of the above on garlic bread.
A salad with a light oil and vinegar dressing goes great with this. Tomatoes, cucumbers, whatever veggies you have on hand to put in there without making it too heavy. The scampi will be heavy enough!
While it might not seem so, this is a fairly fast meal to cook if you buy the shrimp deveined. Some buy shrimp cooked and that's okay but since it only takes about two minutes to cook a shrimp...if you can save some money buying them not cooked, go for it.
So, what do you need for Mike's Scampi if you don't have Mike?
One bag 25 count shrimp, cooked or uncooked, de-veined (if you don't know where the vein is, it's right down the middle of the shrimps back and taking it out is a pain in the butt - there is a cool little plastic gizmo that makes it easier...but easiest is let someone else do it before it gets to you). You can buy these shell on or shelled...again, a choice of convienance and money and what you've got*. Lots of shelled still leave the tail on, and that's what I usually buy unless I need to feed a LOT of people...then it's shell on and I do the work).
Enough minced garlic and butter for scampi and bread. At least two sticks unless you are cooking for one, then halve that.
At least one package of spaghetti
One loaf French bread
Salad fixin's (this delicious salad was made by Pam, and maybe had a Ceasar dressing, but I can't promise that...just that it was really good and had raw sunflower seeds in it - another treat)
Now, c'mon, fess up, That wasn't real expensive and it was real good, wasn't it? And if you are lucky enough to have leftovers, it reheats exceptionally well. Go figure.
And now you've got one delicious meal fit for a birthday queen - and anyone else who loves garlic and shrimp. Including you!
*This is a page that talks all about shrimp. The author emphatically *suggests* not using de-veined and peeled frozen shrimp because of the loss of flavor. Well, I agree. But in my opinion, if you can't get fresh shrimp and/or have never had fresh shrimp. a quality flash frozen product will still taste good to you. Sort of like never having had a straight out of the garden tomato...what you don't know is too bad, but such is life and I'll keep eating shrimp frozen until I can get fresh!
I know I said I'd go into the weekend but maybe that's enough for now. I think so. I'm hungry. Wonder what Mike is fixing tonight...