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Peel n’ eat Shrimp sauté or Shrimp Scampi

We were craving shrimp last night. And wanted something fast, easy and yummy. And we wanted to get our hands dirty and make a mess at the dinner table.  We wanted to peel n’ eat.

And dip.

So Tom showed up after work with a pound and half of shrimp and I showed up hungry!

This is a quick recipe.  You can have this in the table in less than 20 minutes top.  And that’s if you choose to do the dipping sauce.

The great thing about this is that you can do it with any liquor that you have around the house.  Tequila, Rum, Brandy, Sherry, Dry wine -  pretty much anything that will make them sizzle.

This time around I made them with Tequila. We were having margaritas and the bottle was right next to the blender. 

Because that is how we roll in our house. It works.  Just like this recipe.

Shrimp sauté with liquor (or Shrimp Scampi)

1½ pound of shrimp (with shells on, de-veined)
Brine for shrimp (optional)
1-3 tablespoon of Tequila (my choice) I may use more, because I pour from the bottle, but it’s roughly about 1 to 3 tablespoons
½ stick of butter (cut into block pieces)
1 to 2 tablespoon of olive oil
4 to 5 cloves of garlic finely chopped
Salt & ground pepper to taste
¼ cup of freshly squeeze lime juice
2-3 tablespoons of chopped parsley or any other type of fresh herbs.

Wash the shrimp and if they have not be deveined, do so, but leave their shell on (this gives them flavor).  Place them in a bowl with salted water, which will brine them a bit.  For this recipe I brine the shrimps for 20-30 minutes in a bowl of water with salt.  I start with ¼ cup of sea salt to 2 cups of water and work my way to adding salt until I get the water to taste nearly as salty as seawater. Note: It is possible to end up with meat that's too salty for your taste. To avoid this, brine on the low end of the time range on your first attempt. You can always brine longer next time, but there's no way to salvage a piece of meat that's been brined too long.

Prep everything you need around you.  This is important since this goes pretty fast once the shrimps hit the hot pan. Chop the garlic, and parsley. Cut the lime.  Have your serving plate/bowl ready.

Place a large heavy sauce pan* on stove at high medium heat.  Remove the shrimp from the brine and pat them down with a towel making sure they are totally dry.

Add half of the butter and the olive oil to the hot pan, when the butter is bubbling (make sure it does not burn) add about half of the garlic and cook for 1 to 2 minutes (make sure the garlic does not burn either!) throw the shrimp in.

ahhhh sizzzzleeee!

Toss them around coating them with the butter/oil.  Throw the rest of garlic in and toss again.  Then add the liquor, the pan should sizzle on this step if it’s nice and hot. Toss them around.  Let the liquor evaporate a bit. Then add half of the lemon juice and some of the parsley and toss them once more, add the salt and pepper.  By this time your shrimp will be all nice and pink. Remove them from the heat and place them in your serving plate/bowl.

Put the sauce pan back in the stove and add the rest of the butter, add the rest of the lemon juice, and cook for about 1 minute to let it thick up a bit.  The butter will create a thin sauce. Pour over the shrimp, and add the rest of the parsley over them and add more ground pepper.  I usually also squeeze more lime juice over the top.

Serve with lots of napkins’

Quick Pink Dipping Sauce

4 tablespoon of mayonnaise
2 tablespoon of ketchup
1 teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon of lemon juice
1 teaspoon of hot sauce (optional)
Salt & Pepper to taste

Mix all the ingredients and serve.


  • When buying shrimp here is some rules to follow:  Fresh Shrimp: Avoid shrimp that smells of anything other than salt water. If there is any hint of the aroma of ammonia, it's a sign the shrimp is way past its prime. Truly fresh shrimp will have almost translucent flesh. Do not buy shrimp with black spots or rings (unless it's black tiger shrimp) as this indicates the meat is starting to break down. Also avoid pink meat.
  • Frozen Shrimp: If possible, AVOID shrimp that has been peeled and deveined before freezing. It can cause a loss of flavor and texture (shells will help to protect the meat of the shrimp and add more flavor to it).
  • Make sure you are using a large sauce pan that will accommodate all of the shrimp.  You do not want a crowded saucepan, because then not all of the shrimp will come in contact with the high heat and instead of sautéing, they will start to “boil”.  If you need do not have a large saucepan – cook the shrimp in 2 batches adding more butter/oil as needed.
  • While I use parsley as my “herb” you can use any type you have around – Basil, oregano, sage, thyme, cilantro… the trick is that it needs to be “FRESH” – you can also use a combination of herbs.
  • You can skip the “brine” process, but I highly recommend it.  Brining is like a marinade as it keeps food moist and tender. Brining or salting is a way of increasing the moisture holding capacity of shrimp resulting in a moister product when it is cooked. Brining is a process to be used if you want to put a little more "snap" to shrimp. Brining draws extra moisture out of the shrimp flesh, thus firming its texture it turns potentially mushy shrimp into shrimp with a chewy texture similar to lobster tail.  DO NOT BRINE if you are using raw shrimp for poaching and other wet cooking techniques.  You can also brine the shrimp ahead of time, rise and dry and refrigerate the raw brined shrimp until ready to use in your recipe.

Reader Comments (6)

Monica, I LOVE that 1st picture! That's an awesome take!

August 6, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJenn

Totally got lucky on that one... I have yet to switch to manual mode on the camera where I can play around with the settings.. so this was totally a good incident!

August 6, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMonica

Okay that's it, I need to get better lighting! I've always used manual setting, yet my pictures are not quite as bright as yours. That is the cause, or b/c I'm not there yet :).

Your pics would totally super rock when you do manual setting!

August 6, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJenn

Thanks for participating in DMBLGIT, Sept., 2010 edition, Monica. Best wishes for the contest:).

September 21, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSunshinemom

So good. Only fresh herb I had was Rosemary and also substituted lemon for lime. I was the dinner time hero. Recommend serving good bread to soak up yummy sauce.

February 5, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJune

Never thought to brine shrimp 'cause after all it comes from the sea, but what an amazing discovery along with your dipping sauce. Was searching for a method to pseudo grill shrimp in the shell using a fry pan and then chill them down to have cold. My idea was validated by seeing your technique. Had no fresh seasonings on hand to use with my thawed, in-the-shell, de-veined shrimp, so I used dried, and VERY little olive oil to fast fry them and then a splash of white wine to sizzle. Chilled 'em down in the fridge and they worked really well as an appetizer (okay, I pre-peeled them, 'cause I had the leisure). Deeelish, and the texture was perfect. Next time, I will try it your way, when I have fresh seasonings.

July 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSabrina

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