Making Shrimp Scampi Pizza
There are differing opinions on which part of a shrimp is actually edible. The tail is obviously the first to go. As is the head (pulled out along with the dorsal vein & intestine). But what about the skin? the legs? how about the little arms under the gill plates?
When I was younger (we’re talking 15 years ago here), my mother used to cook shrimp by frying them with the arms, legs and skin still attached before tossing them in a sauce made from shallots, chillies, tomato and garlic. Now, I didn’t know that you’re supposed to peel it first (and mother aptly failed to tell me otherwise) and so I took one and popped it right into my mouth and just started chewing. I swallowed, decided right there and then that it was delicious and took another one. And I’ve been eating shrimp that way ever since. So imagine my horror when (fast forward 5 years from then) I saw one of my neighbours eating shrimp with what looked like a mountain of shrimp skin, legs and arms in another plate. All I could think about back then was what a waste of flavours!
But enough about that. Let’s just get to the good part, which is of course the scampi pizza. So what exactly is a shrimp scampi? Scampi in itself is actually tiny lobster-like crustaceans called langoustines. There’s a traditional Italian way to prepare them where the scampi is sautéed with olive oil, garlic, onion and white wine. There are many interpretations of a shrimp scampi, but garlic and parsley must be present. Then there’s the choice of using butter or oil (we’re going for the latter here). The garlic-parsley combo is amped here because we’re going to use in the form of a parsley pistou (sans cheese) as the pizza base instead of marinara.
So first make the pistou:
[ 1 packed cup of parsley + 2-3 cloves of garlic + 3 tablespoon olive oil + salt + a squeeze of lime juice ]
Blitz all the ingredients in a food processor until smooth. Set aside.
And now for the rest of the ingredients:
SHRIMP SCAMPI PIZZA:
[ 1 pizza dough, storebought or homemade (recipe below. You can also use 1 baguette, split in half) + 2-3 tablespoon parsley pistou + 1 pound shrimp (shelled and deveined) + juice of 1/2 a lime + 2-3 cloves of garlic, chopped + a handful of parsley, chopped + 2 tablespoons olive oil + 1/2 of an onion, sliced + 1 cup mozzarella (grated) + salt + ground black pepper + another small handful of parsley for garnish ] OPTIONAL: a pinch of red chilli pepper flakes.
*** Pizza Dough:
[1 1/4 cup all purpose flour + 1/2 cup warm water + 1 teaspoon instant yeast + 1/2 teaspoon salt + 1 teaspoon sugar + 1 tablespoon oil]
Pour warm water in a medium size bowl.
Add salt and yeast and stir around.
Mix in the flour. Gradually add more flour until the dough comes together enough for you to start kneading it.
Knead for a couple of minutes, add additional flour if it sticks to your hands.
Put the dough back in the bowl and drizzle it with the oil.
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set it in a warm place for 30 minutes - 1 hour.
In a bowl, mix the shrimp with lime juice, garlic and parsley. Set aside
Preheat the oven to 500°.
In a skillet, heat the oil and add the chilli pepper flakes. Then add the shrimp and sautee until it begins to turn translucent. Season to taste and take off from heat.
Roll out the pizza crust and spread the parsley pistou on top.
Spoon the shrimp mixture on top and scatter the sliced onion and grated mozarella cheese.
Bake in the oven until the crust is golden brown and the cheese has melted, about 7-10 minutes.
Sprinkle with parsley and serve (and in case you were wondering, this did not quite satisfy the seafood craving. Prepare for more!).
Estimated Nutritional Information:
Makes 1 pizza, Serves approx. 2
Total calories: 577 kcals
Fat: 27.5g (8g saturated)
Protein: 41 g
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