You probably notice that the shrimp in the picture actually have very little pepper on them. For something called “Lemon Pepper Shrimp Scampi” you’d expect pepper to be a star ingredient. And it is… or it’s supposed to be. It isn’t in ours, for two reasons:
- Too much fresh-ground pepper tends to overwhelm me.
- JW broke the pepper grinder.
If you ask him, he’ll say he didn’t break it. It “just broke,” and he happened to be holding it at the time (I’m sure you’ve heard that one before).
Actually the truth of it is that neither of us knows exactly what happened, but it really did just kind of all fall apart into a number of un-reassembleable pieces. The best part was that anytime we moved it, even two inches to the left, little peppercorns escaped all over the table and onto the floor. It didn’t matter how we held it, or even if we stopped up all the holes. Somehow the little balls of “what the crap is a peppercorn anyway” kept finding a way out. We finally salvaged the few that we could and stowed them in a ziploc bag. The broken pepper grinder remains in the pantry. We lied to it and told it we were planning to fix it. I’m not sure if it believes us.
I managed to grind a few of the salvaged peppercorns with a mortar and pestle, and called it a garnish. It was just right for me.
Regardless of your preferred amount of pepper, this is another great recipe from Culinary in the Country (I’m in love with that blog!). It’s simple, fresh, and light. And it probably has about a zillionth of the calories of your typical shrimp scampi recipe. Do me a favor and use the orzo pasta, the texture is fantastic with the shrimp.
Lemon Pepper Shrimp Scampi (Original recipe here)
1 cup dry orzo
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley (or a pinch or two of dried)
3 1/2 tablespoons butter, divided
salt to taste
1 1/2 pounds peeled and deveined jumbo shrimp
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
fresh ground black pepper
In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook according to package directions. Drain and place orzo in a medium bowl. Stir in parsley and 1 tablespoon butter – season with salt and cover to keep warm.
Meanwhile, in a large skillet, melt remaining 1 1/2 tablespoon butter over medium-high. Season shrimp with salt and add into the skillet (if your skillet is small, do this in two batches) – sauté until almost cooked through, about 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. Scoop out shrimp and place onto a plate.
Add remaining 1 tablespoon butter into the pan. Add garlic to pan and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in shrimp, juice and pepper – cook until the shrimp are just done, about 1 additional minute.