February 19, 2011

Shrimp Aperitivo

In Italy they have a wonderful take on Happy Hour.  In addition to discounted drinks, if you buy one or two, depending on the place, you get free, endless trips to the Aperitivo.  This, essentially, is an appetizer buffet.  Sometimes it was cheese and crackers.  Sometimes there was an Antipasto plate thrown in.  And sometimes there were full blown tapas-style appetizers substantial enough to count as dinner.  For free!

I took this idea and scaled it back. First, I didn't charge anyone for drinks.  Second, I only made one, not a buffet.  However, instead of doing my old stand-by chips and salsa, or an antipasto plate for an occasion, I made a warm appetizer of Italian-style sauteed shrimp to serve with cocktails and it was a hit.

Because I used cooked, frozen shrimp, these darlings were whipped up in less than 5 minutes.  Saute de-thawed shrimp in olive oil, red pepper flakes, and thyme or oregano.  Add one clove of minced garlic close to the end so it doesn't burn.  Cook just until the shrimp are heated through and the garlic is fragrant.  I served in a bowl because the moisture of the shrimp and the olive oil make this wonderful scampi-like broth that you can dip bread into.  Yes, please.

These shrimp were perfect to snack on while waiting to eat our meal.  We drank red wine because it's what we bought for our meal, but I think they would have been delicious with Champagne or, if you're sticking with the Italian theme, as you should, a cold flute of Prosecco. 

Enjoy your weekend, folks!  It's cold, but not freezing, so I'm going outside!

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