Friday, July 20, 2012

Fire Roasted Shrimp Scampi

Shrimp scampi was one of my favorite seafood dishes in my late teens to early twenties.  The garlicky aroma, the velvety butter sauce, and fresh Florida shrimp made me a happy dude.

So you can imagine my disappointment when later in life I found out that there was no such thing as "shrimp scampi".   It was just about as bad as finding out that there is no "Santa Claus".  The dish I had been so enthralled with was a lie!  

Scampi isn't a dish.  It is the Italian name for a small lobster also called Norway lobster, Dublin Bay Prawns, or langoustine [Davidson].   The "shrimp scampi" dishes that typically show up on American menus are shrimp, garlic, butter, and wine.  No scampi added.  

But like the propagandist  motto says, "If you repeat a lie often enough it becomes the truth".  The misuse of the term has been so prevalent that now most dictionaries include a secondary definition of Scampi that includes the American shrimp dish [Epicurious].

So this is the shrimp scampi dish that I made for an appetizer this week - or it isn't.  

This is a quick but delicious dish that can be an appetizer or just double the portions and add pasta for an entree.  It has minimal prep and cook times.  If you're having a cookout or tailgate, this dish is one way to really impress your friends with your grilling skills.  But you could also prepare this in your oven or under a broiler.

Fire Roasted Shrimp Scampi
serves:  4 appetizers or 2 entrees 

  • 20 large shrimp, peeled and deveined (about 3/4 lb of 26-30 ct shrimp)
  • 1/4 cup coarse chopped garlic
  • 6 Tbsp butter, cut into cubes
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • black pepper
  • 1 lemon halve
  • Kosher salt
  1. Preheat a charcoal grill to 450f set up for indirect grilling.
  2. Divide the shrimp into 4 au gratin dishes (or other oven safe ceramic dishes).  Add the butter, garlic, and wine.  Season each dish with a pinch of fresh ground black pepper.
  3. Roast the shrimp in the grill with the lid closed until they turn pink, about 7 minutes.
  4. Remove and sqeeze the lemon* halve over the dishes to give each just a splash.  Season each dish with a pinch or two of salt.  Garnish with a little parsley if you like. 
  5. Serve with crispy toasted garlic bread.
  • I like to grill my lemon cut side down over direct heat for 1 or 2 minutes at the end for a flavor boost.
Make sure the butter is touching ceramic so it will melt faster.

Instead of the traditional offset indirect method, I just put a piece of stoneware between the dishes and the hot coals.  You could do the same with a pizza stone. 

Shrimp have a built in cooking timer - their tails! 

This was a big hit for all of us and it disappeared in no time.  The toast is mandatory!  It is so good to sop up the garlic butter left in the bowl.


  1. Looks so delicious and it simple to make--2 very important criteria for a weeknight dinner. Will definitely try this. Thank you!

  2. Love the background story. Had not idea about the term scampi. Whatever you want to call it, I call it a great looking dish.

  3. I never met a shrimp I didn't like (except Danny DeVito - oh, not really - the joke was too obvious to pass up). My chef's eye is good enough that I can tell by looking at them that your shrimp are perfectly cooked. I remember the scampi "scam" from when I posted a recipe some long time ago.

  4. Shrimp Scampi is still one of my favorite dishes...and yes on the mandatory toast. I could eat ALL of those right now.

  5. The toast is definitely mandatory!! Shrimp scampi is a real favorite of mine. Love how you have it served here in the small ceramic pots. A very visually appealing appetizer for sure.

  6. You have no idea how much I want this RIGHT NOW!!!

  7. This looks scrumptious! Such a fine gourmet meal.

  8. Love your posts! Thank you. I was looking at the ingredients list and the instructions. I noticed that you have a 1/4 cup of coarse chopped garlic in the ingredients, but it is not listed in the recipe. Should it be placed in the dish along with the butter and wine?

  9. @cookingwiththecarters - yes! Thank you, good catch. I added it in above.

  10. I learned something today... I did not know that "scampi" was not the "scampi" we know-who cares, we make it so.

    Your scampi, my friend rocks. Looks amazing.


    P.S. The fig jam would make for an amazing glaze or part of a stuffing.

  11. I love this with some nice angel hair pasta.

    Especially when... wait... there's NO SANTA?

  12. A rose by any other name, eh? It's still a delicious dish, just not Scampi. Just like goulash, which is NOT a beef 'n' macaroni dish in Hungary, but which gets its own title of "American Goulash" because so many people have called it by the wrong name ... oy. I guess just enjoy the food, call it by any ol' name that suits you, and be happy!

  13. I dont' think I've ever thought about the term Shrimp Scampi, I just always gobbled it down and didn't ask questions. This looks fabulous Chris, I haven't made it in years and this is a must.

  14. Um-hello! This looks delightful. Nice and garlic-y!

  15. Chris, I have to say I am not a seafood lover... I know living in Long Island and the Gulf Coast of Florida most of my life everyone must have assumed it was a biological defect or something...

    That said, your shrimp looks really good. I know Chad loves this dish, whatever you call it. Bookmarking this one!!!

  16. Looks absolutely perfect.. I don't care what the heck you call it!!!

  17. Thanks for the background info on the scampi! I had no idea. That looks absolutely delicious!

  18. I might actually be drooling over here, but you'll never know. Shrimp Scampi or whatever you might choose to call it is one of my favorite dishes!

  19. Great looking dish. Shrimp, butter and garlic is the trinity of coastal cooking here in the Carolinas. I will take your idea of using stoneware as a mini plate setter to my next cookout.

  20. Yum! Love shrimp scampi, glad it officially exists now. Epicurious says so :)


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