We are all familiar with shrimp scampi. It is a succulent shrimp dish with lots of garlic and butter that is served either over rice or pasta. As with any dish, particularly those that are widespread and have been around for a long time, there are many variations. These variations are part of what makes cooking so much fun. You can always start with the basics or classics and add your own personality to them to make them your own.
I was making some shrimp scampi and saw a recipe for shrimp rampi instead. As usual, I used the recipe as more of a guide and did my own thing. In all honesty, I had never heard of ramps before now. So, see, I learn new things all the time too. Ramps are wild leaks that are foraged from shady wooded areas all over North America. They have a pungent garlic and onion flavor and can be used in lieu of green onions. Ramps (which are sometimes called wild leeks or spring onions, adding to the confusion) look like scallions, but they’re smaller and slightly more delicate, and have one or two flat, broad leaves. Who knew? Now we all do.
For my rampy scampi, I did not use either leeks or ramps. I used spinach instead. You can also use mixed or collard greens as well. The dish was a big hit and it was a perfect spring meal.
olive oil for cooking
lemon olive oil, optional
1 1/2 lbs large shrimp, peeled and deveined
6 oz of your choice, ramps, leeks, spinach or greens, chopped rough
1 1/2 TBSP garlic
1 tsp red pepper flakes or to taste
1 shallot, sliced very thin
1 cup grape tomatoes, cut in 1/2
1/2 cup dry white wine
4 TBSP butter
salt & pepper to taste
1-2 TBSP lemon juice
Get a skillet nice and hot and add your oil(s). Then add the shrimp and the red pepper flakes and cook until the shrimp are done and are nice and pink all around, about 7-8 minutes. Then add the wine and continue to cook for about 2-3 more minutes, or until the liquid is reduced to about half.
Add the garlic, shallots, spinach or greens and tomatoes and cook just long enough for the spinach to get wilted. to make it even more springy, I used a combination of tomatoes. I like the variety and color that they add.
Add the butter right at the end and fully incorporate into the mix. Then serve it all up over either cooked rice or pasta.
This time I served it over rice, with some herbed cheese bread on the side, and of course I completed the meal with some cool, crisp buttery chardonnay as well. Delicious!
Be bold and be creative. Don’t be afraid to think outside o the box. If fact, throw away the box. At the very least, you’ll have a good time, and more so than not, you’ll also have a delicious meal.
Stay happy, stay safe and stay well Everyone. ‘Til next time.