Kitchen Accomplice- Final Kitchen Accomplice column features Shrimp Scampi

  Editor’s Note: This is the final entry for Kitchen Accomplice. Judge Kirkendall has decided to conclude his weekly cooking column but thanks everyone for their readership and interest in it.

  Scampi is the base for this sumptuous and unusual dinner party entree. 
  In Italy, the word scampi is used to refer to a specific kind of seafood known elsewhere as the langoustine. 
  A scampi or a langoustine is a rather large crustacean that resembles a small lobster.
  In America, scampi often refers to a style of cooking that uses garlic and white wine.
  Just about anything you can think of that would taste good with garlic and white wine can be made in the scampi style, although usually when you see the term on a menu it means that a shrimp scampi recipe is what is in mind.
  When you are preparing your shrimp scampi, use the largest shrimp you can find. They may be expensive, but since this, after all, is a shrimp scampi recipe you will not regret using the largest shrimp around.
  The freezer section of the supermarket is not the best place to search.  The largest shrimp there are generally not large enough.  Your fish market is the place to turn for these.
  Have on hand mussels, lump crab meat, clams and lobster claw meat in the goblets on which your shrimp is decoratively displayed. 
  Use your butter warmers to prepare the dipping sauce and some cocktail forks to serve.
  Keep extra sauce warm to refill the butter warmers as needed.  If you have small tongs at each place setting to retrieve the clams to add to the butter sauce, so much the better. 
  This is perfect for a sit down dinner and will bring rave reviews.  Plenty of napkins is the rule. 
  Rice is a natural accompaniment and tiny new peas are very welcome here.  I like an artichoke salad with this and cherry pie for the conclusion is just the right touch.

  Shrimp Scampi
   1/2 stick of butter
   1/2 cup olive oil
   1/4 of a red onion, diced finely
   6 cloves of garlic minced or passed through your garlic press
   1/4 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
   20 of the largest shrimp you can find, cleaned and deveined 
   2 clams per person
   Salt and pepper to taste
   1/2 cup of dry white wine
   Juice of a large lemon
   1/2 a bunch of parsley chopped fine

  Preparation
   Using a large skillet over medium heat, melt half the butter with half the oil.
   Sauté the onions and red pepper flakes until the onions become translucent.
   Add the garlic and sauté until it becomes fragrant.
   Salt and pepper the shrimp and add them to the pan.
   Sauté the shrimp for two minutes then remove them from the pan.
   Place them on a plate and cover with foil to keep them warm.
   Add the wine and lemon juice and bring the liquid to a boil.
   Add the rest of the butter and oil.
   Once the butter has melted, put the shrimp back into the pan with the clams.
   Add the parsley.
   Taste for salt and pepper and adjust if needed.
   Place the shrimp on the rim of your largest goblets filled with the remainder of the shellfish. Add the clams to the goblet when they open.
   Fill the butter warmers with the butter mixture and light the candles beneath the warmers.
   Have some fresh Italian bread with a slab of butter alongside.  If you prefer, you could use an olive oil dipping sauce instead of the butter.

  Insalata Di Carciofi (Artichoke Salad)
   Clean the artichokes, removing all outer leaves until you have only the tender hearts. Put these in water with fresh lemon juice so the leaves do not turn brown.
   In a bowl, toss a handful of baby lettuce with salt and pepper and lemon dressing (recipe below). Arrange the lettuce on the center of salad plate.
   Slice the artichoke hearts julienne style (very thin). Toss the artichoke pieces, arugula and Parmigiano cheese shavings with lemon dressing, salt and pepper. Put this on top of the baby lettuce and top off with a few more Parmigiano cheese shavings.  Your vegetable peeler works nicely for this task.

  Lemon dressing
   Ingredients (multiply by number of guests – this serves one person):
   3/4 tsp. Dijon mustard
   1/4 cup lemon juice
   6 tsp. Extra-virgin olive oil
   Dash of salt and pepper
   Preparation:  Combine all ingredients. Mix well.


Judge Kirkendall is a retired probate judge.  He presently serves on the Elder Law Advisory Board of the Stetson University College of Law 
He has taught cooking classes for more than 25 years at various cooking schools in the Ann Arbor area and has himself attended classes at Cordon Bleu and La Varenne in Paris, as well as schools in New York, New Orleans and San Francisco. 
He is past president of the National College of Probate Judges and can be reached at Judgejnk@yahoo.com.

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