F for Effort

I took one photo of this recipe. One. This pretty much unheard of. Even on my laziest of lazy nights, even when I’m so hungry I’m about ready to chew off my own arm, I usually take at least a half or dozen or so.

But this. This I could not wait to eat. This smelled so freakin’ amazing coming out of the oven, I contemplated taking the entire dish into a dark closet and having my way with it. Instead, I managed to control myself just long enough to plunk my Pyrex down on the counter, grab the camera, and take one crappy shot before digging in. In the battle of my stomach vs. my blog, my stomach ALWAYS wins. A true F for Effort.

Ah! I may get an F, but this recipe is gets an A+ for AMAZING. Not only does it taste great, it’s really easy to make. That’s an A+ in my grade book for sure!

I’ve had my eye on Ina’s Baked Shrimp Scampi ever since I got my hands on her Back to Basics cookbook. I kept making a mental note to add it my menu, but the mental note kept getting lost in the shuffle. Now I’m wondering what in the world took me so long! Buttery, crunchy and knock your socks off delicious. The fresh herbs are a must – I wouldn’t sub dry here. The garlic and shallots add amazing flavor – and with the brightness from the herbs you really just can’t beat it. It’s a little decadent (note the copious amounts of butter) but you can certainly make some adjustments. I halved the recipe for the two of us (the entire recipe appears below) and used about four tablespoons of butter instead of six. Worked out great. This would be great with pretty much any starch – rice, pasta or even mashed potatoes. I had some couscous on hand so I made that. Added a salad and called it a meal. It’s a must try!

And with out further ado, on to the recipe and my one lonely photograph. It just doesn’t do it justice!

BAKED SHRIMP SCAMPI (Recipe Source: Ina Garten, Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics)


  • 2 pounds (12 to 15 per pound) shrimp in the shell (I used frozen raw shrimp, already peeled and deveined. I always do. You probably would to if you lived in a state as landlocked as Iowa. I just a teeny bit wary of buying fresh seafood around here. So I don’t.)
  • 3 tablespoons good olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons dry white wine
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 4 teaspoons minced garlic (4 cloves)
  • 1/4 cup minced shallots
  • 3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary leaves
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 extra-large egg yolk
  • 2/3 cup panko (Japanese dried bread flakes)
  • Lemon wedges, for serving


  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Peel, devein, and butterfly the shrimp, leaving the tails on. Place the shrimp in a mixing bowl and toss gently with the olive oil, wine, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Allow to sit at room temperature while you make the butter and garlic mixture.
  3. In a small bowl, mash the softened butter with the garlic, shallots, parsley, rosemary, red pepper flakes, lemon zest, lemon juice, egg yolk, panko, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper until combined.
  4. Starting from the outer edge of a 14-inch oval gratin dish, arrange the shrimp in a single layer cut side down with the tails curling up and towards the center of the dish. (Since I halved the recipe, I used a 11×7 glass baking pan) Pour the remaining marinade over the shrimp. Spread the butter mixture evenly over the shrimp. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes until hot and bubbly. If you like the top browned, place under a broiler for 1 minute. Serve with lemon wedges.




Filed under shrimp

11 responses to “F for Effort

  1. Yum. Your picture makes me drool.

  2. Omg this looks amazing!

  3. Jen

    This does look amazing. I live in Boston and still always buy the raw frozen shrimp. On an episode of Good Eats, Alton Brown said that it’s just as good as fresh, if not better. I trust him so I don’t feel bad about it.

  4. mariah808

    Looks delicious — one photo did the trick!

  5. I have been wanting to make this for a long time! It looks delicious!

  6. That looks tasty. I know what you mean about sometimes not managing to capture photos before enjoying something delicious. I recently tried photographing an aquavit cocktail for my blog (it’s my exploration of Norwegian food, culture, and life) and I just couldn’t get it right; in the meantime I kept sipping, and eventually I just gave up and called it good.

  7. Yum! First time visit…um how do I follow your site? I haven’t located the follow thingy. Thanks.

    • themilkmanswife

      Hi Lauren – thanks for visiting! As far as following, I’m not really all that tech savvy and will have to look into something kind of widget to add so people can follow directly from my site. I’ll see what I can do…I’m not good at this stuff! LOL. In the meantime, web-based subscription services like Google Reader are awesome – you can follow a whole bunch of blogs that way and they are all in one place. All you need is a gmail account – just click the Reader tab from your inbox to start adding blogs. I hope that helps a little bit! šŸ™‚

  8. The singular photo looks amazing….I so know what you mean about being so hungry that there’s no time to point and shoot and twist and turn! Happens to me ever so often and I end up with a sud it moment!

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