January 1, 2011

Jumbo Shrimp Buzara Style (Buzara di Scampi)

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We were pleasantly surprised by how simple and quick this dish came together, and how delicious the result came out to be! At it's core, this is basically just shrimp in a quick tomato sauce, but the addition of the wine, and the use of shelled shrimp really helped this dish to stand out.

To Peel, or Not To Peel

Deveining the shrimp. Once you've got the vein out, 
rinse the shrimp with cool water and pat it dry. 
Given that you'll be using a lot of shrimp, the thought of buying shelled shrimp and deveining each one seems a little arduous. We certainly questioned whether or not it was worth it to buy shell on shrimp or just get them peeled and deveined, but in the spirit of trying new things and seeing what Lidia's recipe truly called for, we went with the shell on shrimp.

Deveining actually turned out to be not that complicated or time intensive after all, adding only about 10 minutes to the prep time. It's simple enough to do: simply take a small paring knife, stick it into the front of the shrimp under the shell with the knife facing away from the legs, and then slice towards the back to the tail. Once you've opened it up you should see the vein and you can use the knife to pull it out. 

The smell of the raw shrimp had Herbie going absolutely crazy with hunger-lust. So much so that we had to remove him from the kitchen while we were preparing. But don't worry, once we got things back under control Herbie had one of the best meals of his little life.

Pretty please can I haz some shrimp? Yes?! OMG NOM

Making the Dish

We sautéed the shrimp in a non-stick pan, so we used the 
rubber spatula so as not to scratch the non-stick coating. 
What You'll Need
1 lb, jumbo shrimp
2 cloves garlic
1 onion, chopped
4 tbsp olive oil
4 tbsp tomato paste
3/4 cup white wine
1/4 cup fresh chopped parsley

You start off by making the sauce, which is essentially garlic onion, white wine, and tomato paste all bubbled together. Lidia calls for shallot, but we used an onion instead, since all our other recipes for the week use onion and they have a fairly similar effect on the recipe. Also, we added a little crushed red pepper to give it more of a kick. 

Shrimp + sauce = niiice
While the sauce is bubbling, it's time to saute the shrimp in a different pan. For this you just heat up a little olive oil and drop the shrimp right in and toss them around. Cook them till they start to turn pink on the outside and the meat turns opaque. 

Cooking the shrimp should only take a couple of minutes, and once they got opaque we turned off the heat. Then you simply dump the shrimp into your sauce and toss them all around to get them nice and coated. You can keep the heat on the sauce pan while you do this to continue the cooking and finish off the shrimp. 

For the final touches, we chopped up some fresh parsley and threw it on top. After stirring that around, we took a little extra olive oil, drizzled it on top, and stirred that in as well for a burst of additional flavor. We can't take credit for that, it was Lidia's idea, but was really good!

Shrimp and sauce, with chopped parsley. Getting closer!

The Wine

We wanted to have some Italian wine with this dish since it is an Italian dish. Since it's a shrimp dish, we wanted to use a white wine, since wine people say that's what you're supposed to do. Unfortunately we know relatively little about white Italian wines, so our method of selecting was based primarily on what the store already in the cooler that was less that $13. We found a Pinot Grigio called Villanova for $12 and it was actually quite drinkable. 

Pouring the Villanova Pinot Grigio.
It was sweet and only semi dry, and lacked the metallic aftertaste that some cheaper white wines can have. Not a ton of complexity here, but nothing negative either. 

The Result

Lidia's recipe recommends serving the shrimp in one big bowl with a nice piece of grilled bread to sop up the sauce, and that's exactly what we did. Peeling off the shrimp shells and licking off the juices was a fun - albeit somewhat messy - experience, and the shells imparted some great flavor to the sauce. It was definitely worth the extra 10 minutes for deveining.

Istria style Buzara di Scampi for two

Overall this is one of the easier recipes we've ever made and the taste is great. We highly recommend you give this a try at home. Since it is made up of such simple ingredients it likely lends itself well to experimentation and improvisation, so feel free to give it a try adding some of your own favorites to the sauce as well!

Check back tomorrow for day 2 of our Tour of Istria, when we make Fresh Pasta Quills with Chicken Sauce (Fuzi con Sugo di Pollo)!

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