This is one of those iconic dishes that doesn’t need any updating or improving because it’s so good as it is. A great scampi should always be about allowing the subtle sweetness and brininess of the shrimp to coexist peacefully with the garlic and oil.
You need some butter to balance the taste of the sauce, and you need olive oil for cooking shrimp. (Olive oil burns and turns very bitter at a high heat.) Once these ingredients come together, you will understand. Serve this dish with buttered pasta or loaves of seriously crusty bread. I have also been known to go overboard and offer buttery garlic bread on the side.
1½lbs"colossal" (8/10 count) shrimp(15 or 16 shrimp), peeled and deveined
2largegarlic clovesgrated on a microplane
¾cupdry white wine
½tspdried red pepper flakes
½cupfresh flat-leaf parsley leaveschopped
Grated zest and juice of 1 large lemon
Quick-sear the shrimp:
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Season the shrimp with salt, and once the oil begins to smoke lightly, remove the pan from the heat and quickly arrange the shrimp in it in a single layer with a little space between them. Return the pan to the heat, raise the heat to high, and brown the shrimp on the first side, adding 1 tablespoon of the butter in small pieces around the shrimp to add flavor as they brown, 1 to 2 minutes. Turn the shrimp over and cook until the other side is browned, 1 to 2 minutes. The goal here is not to fully cook the shrimp but to brown the exterior and develop flavor. Transfer the shrimp to a sheet pan.
Make the sauce:
In the same skillet, add the remaining 1 tablespoon butter and the garlic, a pinch of salt, and the white wine. Simmer over medium heat, stirring until the wine all but evaporates and the garlic is tender, 3 to 5 minutes.
Cook the shrimp and serve:
Arrange the shrimp in the sauce and warm them through over low heat, basting them with the sauce. Sprinkle with the red pepper flakes. Cook until the shrimp turns pink but are still tender, 2 to 3 minutes more. Stir in the Tabasco, Worcestershire, parsley, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Taste for seasoning and serve.