The Kitchn’s Cooking School
I didn’t grow up liking shrimp. I thought it stank. I hated the texture and the flavor. I was even allergic to it at one point. If I remember correctly, I used to get rashes from eating it. As an adult, however, it became difficult to resist shrimp when it came cooked in butter or garlic or some kind of delicious sauce. And the allergy went away. Maybe I never even had a shrimp allergy? So I eventually came to like shrimp. Do I now think its flesh contains the most pleasant odor and flavor? No. But with the right preparation and accompaniment, it can be quite enjoyable.
I’ve always been intrigued by shrimp scampi. I had the first taste of it at my university’s dining hall. I fell in love with the smell but was always disappointed by the flavor, which never matched the strength of its aroma. Even if you don’t like shrimp that much, can you really say no to the combination of garlic, butter, and white wine?
Until last week, I had never cooked shrimp in my life and always been reluctant to bring seafood into my kitchen. I was equally excited and nervous about handling shrimp for the first time. I’m sensitive about smell, and the crustacean body just seems so delicate and complex.
The recipe provided in the lesson is very simple and calls for the shrimp to be broiled. Since the recipe serves four to six people, I decided to half it. I bought a pack of shrimp that’s already been peeled, so I just had to remove the tail and devein them. Easy enough. My mind must have been in a state of disarray because I only halved the butter and the shrimp and forgot about the rest of the ingredients. Then I stupidly decided not to measure the lemon juice and poured in the juice of an entire lemon because I was so excited that the lemon I was using was so juicy.
I fixed up the mess by not halving the sauce. It still came out a little too sour because of the sheer amount of lemon juice I over-enthusiastically dumped into the saucepan. I should have added more butter to balance out the flavor. I already threw measurement to the wind anyway. I don’t know why I was suddenly so keen on sticking to the amount of butter in the recipe.
On a more positive note, I was incredibly happy with the broiled shrimp. It was sweet, moist, and tender. Once everything was put together, I was happy with the result. Plus, I had leftover butter sauce for other uses. I dipped bread in it when I was hungry and lazy the next day. It was also great on chicken breasts. It could have been more balanced, sure, but it was as balanced as it could have been in the hands of a cook in a off-kilter state of mind.