Shrimp Scampi Tastes Deliciously Redundant

Posted: January 12, 1994

Menu-writers are blissfully free of the restraints Mrs. Furball tried to impose in Composition 101. Redundancy is revered; that's the sin of saying the same thing twice, as in "pizza pie." I once read a menu that offered "salsa sauce." They want you to be sure, really sure, of what you're ordering, especially if the word is foreign.

My favorite twice-told title is "shrimp scampi," which you know perfectly well means shrimp cooked the Italian way: lots of garlic and oil (. . . and calories. We'll get to that in a minute.) You know they're going to cook it Italian style because they used the Italian word for shrimp: "scampi." Literal translation of the title: "shrimp shrimp." By extension, anything cooked the way the Italians cook shrimp is called "scampi" (-style.) Don't look for shrimp in "scallops scampi" or "crabmeat scampi" (don't even look for crab if they spell it "Krab") Italian restaurants aren't the only players of this word game: any Chinese dish served in "lobster sauce" is guaranteed to be lobster-free unless they call it "lobster in lobster sauce"

Never mind the excess words, what about the fat and calories? It's the oil, not the garlic, that provides the calories (120 for every tablespoon), but it's the garlic that makes the flavor. Because garlic is such an important part of this dish, don't attempt to make it with anything other than fresh garlic . . . not garlic powder or instant (dried) garlic. And avoid garlic

from a jar. Some of the garlic products available in jars are nothing more than dried garlic reconstituted in water with preservatives and with or without oil added.

LOWER FAT SHRIMP SCAMPI-STYLE

1 pound large raw shelled shrimp

2 tablespoons olive oil

6 cloves of fresh garlic, minced (or to taste)

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano (or mixed Italian herbs)

2 tablespoons lemon juice

4 teaspoons chopped fresh parsley

Salt, pepper, to taste

Combine shrimp, olive oil, garlic and oregano; toss lightly to coat shrimp evenly. Place the shrimp in a shallow broiler-proof baking dish and squirt with lemon juice. Broil shrimp until just tender, 3 to 5 minutes, depending on

size. Sprinkle with parsley, salt and pepper before serving. Makes 4 servings, 175 calories each.

Swordfish scampi: Cut swordfish steak into 1-inch cubes and use in place of shrimp. Each serving, 205 calories.

SCAMPI-STYLE SCALLOPS

1 pound fresh sea scallops

2 tablespoons butter or margarine (or 3 tablespoons diet margarine)

2 tablespoons dry white wine (or lemon juice)

2 cloves garlic, finely minced

Salt and freshly ground pepper

Optional: paprika, minced

Fresh parsley

Preheat broiler. Arrange scallops in a single layer in a shallow broiling pan or 4 individual flameproof servers. Dot lightly with butter or margarine. Add the wine (or lemon juice) and minced garlic. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Broil 3 to 4 inches from the heat source, turning frequently, until cooked through, about 3 to 6 minutes. Sprinkle with paprika and parsley, if desired. Makes four servings, under 150 calories each.

SKILLET CHICKEN SCAMPI-STYLE

1 pound chicken cutlets (2 skinned, boned, fat-trimmed breasts)

3 tablespoons chicken broth (or water)

Juice of 1 lemon

2 tablespoons white wine

2 tablespoons butter (or margarine)

1 to 3 cloves garlic, finely minced

2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley

Cut chicken into 1 1/2-inch cubes. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Spray a large non-stick skillet liberally with cooking spray. Arrange the cubes in a single layer. Brown the chicken cubes, with no fat added, over moderate heat, about 3 or 4 minutes per side; transfer to a heated platter. Add remaining ingredients to skillet; cook and stir until butter melts and mixture combines. Spoon pan juices over chicken cubes. Makes four servings, 180 calories each.

Spaghetti scampi-style: Prepare shrimp (or other seafood, or bite-size cubes of boneless chicken breast as previously directed. Toss with 2 cups hot cooked spaghetti, or other pasta. (Sprinkle with 4 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese, additional lemon juice and fresh parsley, if desired. Each serving, 100 additional calories.

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