Shrimp are an easy meal to prepare for any occasion, whether it be dinner during the week, or for entertaining on the weekend. Shrimp come from different regions throughout the world and vary in size, flavor and color. I tend to enjoy most varieties, but especially wild sweet pink jumbo shrimp, or prawns.
Fresh shrimp are great, however, frozen shrimp are always a nice option because most seafood comes into stores already frozen, the fish monger defrosts it before selling. Frozen shrimp also store nicely for several months at a time, and you have it handy, ready-to-cook at a moments notice. To defrost shrimp, place in a bowl of cold water in the sink for an hour.
Cleaning and preparing shrimp is very necessary, first – remove the head (in most countries, except the United States, people leave the head on and eat it). Next, pull the shell back from the top of the shrimp, removing the legs, but leaving the tail intact. Then with a paring knife, slice the shrimp down the back to create a fan shape or scampi, and remove the black or blue vein.
Now you are ready to get started on Shrimp Scampi with Pancetta & Tomatoes. This dish can be made in minutes because it cooks up quickly and there are only a few ingredients. I love this dish as an entree, but if you are entertaining and want a delicious bite with wine, it makes a great appetizer too.
6-8 fresh or frozen jumbo shrimp or prawns, any variety – defrosted
2 tablespoons brown rice flour, or regular all purpose
1 bell pepper, any color
1 cup cherry tomatoes
2 cloves garlic
4 ounces pancetta, diced ( you can find the pancetta already diced in most grocery stores)
1/3 cup white wine
1 tablespoon butter
1 sprig fresh rosemary, thyme or parsley
1. Slice cherry tomatoes and in half and slice garlic. Dice bell pepper, set aside. In a small bowl, combine brown rice flour with 1 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper – sprinkle over shrimp. I like to use rice flour to sprinkle on seafood, it creates a slightly crunchy exterior.
2. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil to a saute pan and place over medium heat. Let oil heat for 1 minute, before adding shrimp. Add shrimp to pan and saute for 1 minute.
3. Flip shrimp over and continue to cook for another minute. Remove shrimp from pan and put on plate. Add pancetta to pan and cook for 3 minutes, while stirring occasionally.
4. Add peppers, tomatoes and garlic to pancetta. Stir to combine and cook for 4 minutes. Add wine and continue to cook, until wine reduces slightly, about 2 minutes. Add butter and stir to thicken sauce, continue to cook for 1 minute. Add shrimp back into pan and toss to combine the flavors, cook another 2 minutes and sprinkle in rosemary, serve. Enjoy!