My friend, Mary Ann, goes on a mission from time to time to empty her entire freezer, refrigerator and pantry of all food objects – finding a way to make them into some kind of meal. I admire this. When you look in the freezer and there are unidentifiable objects that you cannot remember putting in the freezer, that is a bad sign.
I have a few. I have bags of Thomas Keller’s beef stock that I made, oh, more than a year ago. It was a torturous process making that damn stock so I value those bags far more than I should. Perhaps I can sell them on E-Bay. I have cornmeal that I got at a BBQ contest in 2009. Does cornmeal go bad in the freezer? I don’t think so, but I don’t really know. I have meatloaf mix that is tinged with those telltale frost crystals that mean it has frost burn. But I am too cheap to throw it out. Plus it would mean thawing the meatloaf out so that I, being extremely cheap, could wash the disposable plastic container it is housed in.
So for the past week or so I’ve been trying to honor Mary Ann and just cook from the ingredients I already have. To be completely honest, I have more ingredients than most. Do you have miso sitting in the refrigerator? Do you even know what it is? How about fish sauce, sumac and za’atar? Oh, I could put some links in here, but I think you need to look them up. The exotic stuff, plus the usual such as pizza dough, an array of vegetables, canned everything, a gross of rice, barley and pasta, frozen chicken, pork tenderloin, ground beef and sausages from West Wind Farms (I will give them a plug because they are the best sausages on the planet and you need to give Ralph and Kimberlie Cole some love and order some) would feed Mark and I for at least a month.
Which led me to shrimp scampi (scampi is really a name for a type of small lobster but, of course, we’ve screwed this up in the United States and what it means here is shrimp in a butter and lemon sauce – we’re so uncivilized). My poor shrimp had been frozen so long that ice crystals were forming on them. So that’s what Mark got tonight. Shrimp scampi with thin spaghetti, of which I have at least 10 boxes because I cannot pass up the “buy one, get one free” sales at the Publix.
If you can find wild American shrimp, please spend the extra few pennies to get them. They’re better for the environment, they’re caught off Southern waters and they sustain our precious fishermen.
1 pound shrimp, preferably wild-caught American
1/3 cup butter
Juice of one lemon
¼ cup dry white wine
3 cloves garlic, chopped
¼ cup minced parsley
Shell and devein shrimp. Melt butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add the lemon juice, white wine and garlic. Saute garlic for about one minute. Add the shrimp. Salt and pepper to taste. Saute the shrimp for about one minute on each side until they turn pink but are still plump. Sprinkle with parsley.
Serve over buttered pasta.