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Here's Lookin' at You: Garlicky Shrimp in Butter Sauce


Taking advantage of the abundant fresh fish and shellfish available here, we often turn first to the classics. When it comes to fresh shrimp, few things can top this simple preparation often called "scampi" in seafood and Italian restaurants: whole shrimp sauteed in garlic oil and spices, and finished in a light buttery cream sauce. And when it comes to garlic, the highest authority on my shelves is the The Garlic Lovers' Cookbook (see book review) by the Gilroy Garlic Festival Association. Gilroy, California proudly claims itself the "Garlic Capital of the World" and during the last weekend in July for the last 30 years, over one hundred thousand visitors to its 3-day festival make it so. The Gilroy Garlic Festival serves up everything from its Gourmet Alley classics like calamari salad, garlic bread and this scampi, to the more unusual garlic wine, ice cream, chocolates, and "mountain oysters." All profits from the festival go to local charities. It's a delicious win-win for everyone. This year the Festival will take place July 25-27th at Christopher Ranch in Gilroy. If you're planning your first trip there, a word to the wise: go early, and don't let the garlic ice cream be the first thing you try that day! Until you can stroll Gourmet Alley for yourself, these finger-lickin' ono shrimp will tide you over.

GARLICKY SHRIMP IN BUTTER SAUCE
(adapted from
The Garlic Lovers' Cookbook)

Butter Sauce
1/2 cup
unsalted butter
1 clove garlic, finely mince
4 oz. clam juice or fish stock
2
TBL. flour
2
tsp. minced parsley
1/4 cup (60 ml) dry white wine
2 tsp. lemon juice
1/2 tsp. dry basil
Dash of nutmeg
1/4 cup (60 ml) half-and-half, or light cream
sea salt and ground black pepper to taste

Over very gentle heat, saute garlic in butter (don't let butter brown). Combine clam juice, flour, and parsley, and stir until smooth. Add to pan and blend well. Add wine, lemon juice, basil and nutmeg, blend well. Slowly add dairy, and stir until thickened. Simmer gently 30 minutes. Taste and correct seasoning.

Scampi
2
TBL. butter
2 TBL. olive oil
3-5 cloves garlic, minced
Juice and zest from 1/2 lemon
1 TBL. parsley, minced
1/2
tsp. crushed red pepper
1 tsp. minced fresh basil
1/4 cup (60 ml) dry white wine
Dash of sherry
1 lb. shrimp
sea salt and ground black pepper

Heat butter and oil over medium heat, add garlic and cook to soften. Add lemon juice, parsley, pepper, basil, wine, sherry, and salt and pepper, and cook for about 2 minutes, until fragrant. Add shrimp, and lemon zest, and toss to combine. Cook until shrimp are just firm, and turning pink. Pour Butter Sauce over and heat through. Immediately remove from heat and serve with
Bruschetta or over long pasta (linguine, spaghetti, etc.) to soak up the delicious sauce.