One of my favorite things about the Lowcountry is the SHRIMP! The Lowcountry of South Carolina is famous for its shrimp, caught right off the coast here. It is different than any other shrimp, I swear! (It is sort of like how store-bought strawberries are nothing like picked-from-the-field-in-May-strawberries, or how store-bought tomatoes are nothing like height-of-summer-plucked-from-the-plant-heirloom-tomatoes). Lowcountry shrimp are so sweet and tender. They almost melt in your mouth.
We see shrimp boats shrimping right off the beaches every day. And within 10 minutes of the beach house there are at least three shrimp-selling vendors (and within 20 minutes at least half a dozen roadside stands selling shrimp from trucks). Kyle and Owen love to catch shrimp net-casting right from the beach or in the marshes all around us (we always throw those back; they are babies).
The Lowcountry is also famous for Lowcountry cuisine. Shrimp scampi is definitely not a traditional Lowcountry dish. But while we’re at the beach house I make shrimp scampi at least once a week. It is Braydon’s favorite dinner at the beach house.
You can make this with any shrimp (and I often do at home, using store-bought shrimp — it is just such a treat in South Carolina because of our proximity to be able to buy incredible shrimp here). At this point in time, I never use a recipe. I wouldn’t dare try to give precise measurements, but here’s what I do to make the most incredible shrimp scampi.
- about 1 pound of fresh shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 2 packages (9 oz each) fresh pasta — linguine or fettuccine — or 1 box dry, cooked according to package directions, then drained. [We really like the Buitoni brand fresh linguine for this.]
- about 6 garlic cloves, sliced thin
- 1 stick butter
- about 2 tablespoons olive oil
- juice of about 1.5-2 lemons
- big handful of fresh parsley, chopped
- fresh ground pepper
- fresh grated parmesan cheese
- Melt butter, with the olive oil, in a pan over medium-low heat.
- Add garlic to pan. Cook only for a minute or two, until garlic is a soft, but not browned.
- Add shrimp.
- Working quickly, squeeze lemon juice into the pan over shrimp (you can just toss the lemon into the pan after squeezing for another subtle layer of flavor), then toss in parsley, and ground pepper to taste.
- Allow shrimp to cook for just a minute or two, tossing them carefully, until they just barely start to curl. You don’t want them to curl tightly or get too white (that means they are overcooked). They should be just barely curling, and still slightly translucent in the center.
- Quickly toss the pasta with the shrimp.
- Serve with parmesan sprinkled on top.