Shrimp scampi is one of my all-time favorite dishes. I grew up in a small port town at the heels of the Mediterranean Sea, known among other things, for its outstanding fish and seafood. When I think back, trying to identify the exact moment I fell inlove with the world of cuisine, I think of ‘Huda brothers’ restaurant’ in my old town. It was situated in the center of an old bronze age theater hall, with magnificent arcs and perfectly rounded ancient stone pillars that seem to reach the sky.
‘Huda brothers’ specialty was obviously fish and seafood. As a young kid, I wasn’t too fond of fish, but shrimp, that was love from first bite. The shrimp scampi there was served in a hot pan, in a lemony, butter, white wine, tomato extra virgin olive oil sauce that you just couldn’t stop going back into. And ofcourse bread, this dish demanded it and I just dipped it in the sauce until I cleaned it from all remanences of that treasured sauce. It was true heaven!
This is my attempt to recreate this magical memory that continues to haunt me to this day.
So... Let's do this!
For The Bread:
480g Bread flour
10g Active dry yeast
250ml Lukewarm water
1Tbsp Olive oil
1/4 TspChili Flakes
*For the Tangzhong (water roux)
20g bread flour
click here for full video recipe: Tangzhong
What is Tangzhong
Tangzhong literally translates in Chinese into water roux. This method is thought to be first invented in Japan, where it is named You-Dane, but the dispute is still left opened and largely undecided. The method of slowly cooking flour with water or milk, into a paste, is commonly used in Asia to improve the texture of bread, making it soft and fluffy. This mixture helps to hold the moisture in the dough when added to the bread flour mix, which translates into a faster and high raise in the dough proofing, which in turn result in a fluffy, perfectly crusted bread.
Make the Tangzhong by whisking the flour into the water completely in a small pot. Heat up the mixture on medium low heat and continuously stir being careful to get the edges as well until the water roux thickens up to a pudding consistency. When you take a spatula to it you should be able to see the bottom of the pot.
For the shrimp
1 Pound Shrimp (shell on)
1Cup Cherry Tomatoes
1/2 Cup of chopped parsley
6 Garlic cloves
1/2 Cup of (Dry) White Wine
1/4 Cup of Olive oil
3 Tbsp Butter
For The Marinade:
3 Garlic cloves minced
1 Tbsp Olive oil
1 Tsp Lemon Juice
STEP one: Lets make the bread
Measure out and mix all dry ingredients in the stand mixer bowl.
Add the Tangzhong*
Add Water gradually
Mix with the dough hook on medium (setting 2-4 if on Kitchen Aid stand mixer) for 10 minutes.
Shape the dough into a ball with your hands and place in a lightly greased bowl.
Cover and let it proof until the dough has doubled in size (1-1.5hrs, however time will depend on the temperature, ideal temp is around 75-85°F).
Punch down the dough to release captured gas, and roll into a ball.
Let the dough bench rest for 20 minutes covered with a kitchen.
Dust your surface with flour, weighing the dough, divided into 4 equal parts and roll into a ball
Flatten each ball and roll into a log 12" in length
Brush with room temp water and sprinkle with sesame seeds (I used black and white for texture)
Place on a baking tray and bake for 45min in a 375 F pre heated oven.
Once finished, remove and place bread on wire rack to cool down.
STEP two: Lets prep for the Shrimp
First thing first, lets get our Mise En Place (prep) ready
Finely Mince 3 of the garlic for the Marinade (I like to use a microplane)
Finely chop the parsley
Cut the Cherry Tomatoes in half
Shave 3 Garlic cloves using a Mandolin
Zest one lemon
STEP three: Devein the Shrimp
Starting with the head end, pull off the outer shell. Depending on how you intend to present the shrimp, you can keep the last segment of shell and the tail tip on, for decorative purposes. Place shells in a bowl save for the sauce. The shells hold a lot of flavor.
Using a small paring knife, cut along the outer edge of the shrimp's back, about 1/4-inch deep.
If you can see it, remove and discard the vein the runs along right under the surface of the back, with your fingers or the tip of your knife. If you can't see the vein, don't bother with it.
Return the peeled and deveined shrimp to a bowl of ice or ice water until you are ready to cook. when ready to cook combine shrimp, olive oil, lemon juice minced garlic in a bowl and let it sit to marinate for 15-20 min before use.
In a hot fry pan add 1 Tbsp olive oil and sautéed the shrimp 70% only. we want it partially cooked at this stage.
remove from the pan and set aside
let's make the sauce... add the rest of olive oil, the reserved shells and the wine
after the alcohol evaporates 10 to 15 minutes remove the shells
add the shaved garlic and sautéed till translucent (3-5min)
Add the butter and some 1/2 Tsp chili flakes
Add the shrimp back to finish cooking (2-3min)
add the tomatoes and cook for another 2 min.
Time to taste. Add salt and pepper if needed
Remove from fire and drizzle with chopped parsley and fresh squeezed Lemon juice
Now, get that bread and start dipping.