All it takes is …

…”a splash, a dash and a squeeze”. Ok, it takes a bit more than that but not much more and the end result is a supremely balanced lemony, buttery shrimp/prawn dish that will knock your socks off!

After a busy day in the “razor’s edge” world of VocalStandards blogging, I sat down with a glass of wine and kicked on the TV to let my brain air out for a bit.

Ran across this Irish cooking show (yes, you can find everything on satellite TV these days) and was about to push on until I heard the chef (Aidan Mac Manus, Chef Patron of the King Sitric Restaurant and Inn) describe his “Dublin Prawns in Garlic Butter” dish as … “prawns with a splash, a dash and a squeeze”.

Well, with a shrimp scampi affliction approaching my well documented linguini and clams “problem”,  I just had to hang around to see this guy turn out his “Irish scampi” dish.

As advertised…

…this Dublin version of shrimp scampi is principally shrimp cooked in a sauce comprised of a “splash” of white wine, a “dash” of Tabasco, and a “squeeze” of lemon … OK if you check the recipe below you’ll find there’s also a “knob” of butter, a “scatter” of minced garlic and a “sprinkle” of parsley.

Though technically accurate, I think  “A splash, a dash, a squeeze, a knob, a scatter and a sprinkle” looses that Irish colloquial elegance of “A splash, a dash and a squeeze”.

I took the liberty of making a few changes … doubling the recipe to accommodate my lovely bride (she gets testy if I leave her out), and subbing red pepper flakes for the Tabasco.

Nothing against Tabasco and to be sure the sauce would appear more homogeneous with the Tabasco melded in, but I decided to make this change as a tip of the hat toward my normal mediterranean bent with this dish. Next time I will make the dish “Dublin style” with the Tabasco.

Such beautiful balance…

These shrimp carry the butter, the lemon and the garlic flavors in perfect balance … everything is clearly there but harmony reigns as none of the flavors over-power. The heat from the pepper and the freshness from the parsley are background singers that contribute to the balance of the Irish scampi goodness.

You can serve this dish over pasta, but I think the “zen-plicity” of just setting it down with crusty bread to mop up the sauce is all you really need.

Well, wine of course … there must be wine!

Prawns with a splash, a dash & a squeeze
My interpretation of Dublin Bay Prawns in Garlic Butter from Aidan Mac Manus, Chef Patron of the King Sitric Restaurant and Inn (Howth, Co. Dublin, Republic of Ireland)
  • About ½ - ⅔lb med/large size prawns
  • 1 TB olive oil
  • A splash of dry white wine (~1/3-1/2 cup)
  • A dash of Tabasco (a pinch of red pepper flakes is my preference)
  • A squeeze of ½ large lemon (a touch more for my taste)
  • A knob of butter (~2-3 TB ... eyeball it)
  • A clove or two garlic, minced
  • A TB or so of parsley
  1. Sauté off the prawns in olive oil until just pink but not cooked through; remove shrimp to a warm plate.
  2. In the same pan combine the splash,dash/pinch and squeeze over med heat.
  3. Deglaze the pan for a minute or so over a medium bubble. Add butter and garlic and cook until incorped - about 1 minute.
  4. Add back the prawns and any accumulated juices; heat through for 1-2 minutes.
  5. Add parsley, toss and serve with some hot crusty bread (and a glass of Albarino).
Optionally serve the shrimp over a nest of linguini (wine is not optional though 😉 )