One of the most time-treasured holiday traditions in our food world is the Italian Feast of the Seven Fishes, or the Italian Christmas Eve banquet. Over the years, the seven fishes category has expanded to include shellfish, and so too the variety of wonderful seafood dishes for holiday dining pleasure, including this recipe for shrimp from the majestic Amalfi coast of Italy.
Here to take us by the hand into her kitchen is Mary Ann Esposito of Durham, N.H., a foremost authority on Italian cooking, host of the longest running cooking show on television, “Ciao Italia,” and author of over a dozen books. She considers the Amalfi coast one of the most beloved vacation destinations within Italy, with its breathtaking beauty and, of course, its fish: tender baby squid, sweet clams, and of course the gamberoni, or colossal shrimp.
Not only do we get Mary Ann’s loving instruction on how to properly prepare this simple yet elegant meal of large shrimp, Amalfi Style or Gamberoni all’Amalfitana, we also get her advice on cooking tools and techniques that only a seasoned chef would know. We will ask ourselves the same thing she does: Why don’t people cook at home more, since this is so simple?
20 large shrimp
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 large clove garlic minced
2 anchovies in olive oil, chopped
1 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes
5 large fresh plum tomatoes, seeded and diced
11/2 cups dry white wine
1/4 cup minced parsley
Salt to taste
Clean the shrimp by removing the heads, outer shell and intestinal track. (Use a small knife and make a slit along the curved side of each shrimp and use the tip of the knife to scrape out the intestine. Rinse the shrimp well and set aside.
In a large saute pan, add the oil and heat it over medium heat. Stir in the garlic, anchovies and hot red pepper flakes and cook, stirring with a wooden spoon until the anchovies dissolve in the oil.
Add the shrimp, tomatoes and wine and cook covered over low heat for 15 minutes or just until the shrimp are opaque and cooked through. Do not overcook the shrimp or they will be too tough.
Stir in the parsley. Season to taste with salt.
Serve in bowls and accompany with slices of good bread to mop up the juices.
Recipe courtesy “Ciao Italia,” www.pbs.org.