This post is sponsored by Everywhere Agency on behalf of Macy’s; however, all thoughts and opinions and love of shrimp scampi are my own.
You may hate me after reading this. There are days I look at what I get to do for a living and want to pinch myself. If I weren’t me, I’d think I’m insufferable.
Last Friday was one of those days. I was invited by Macy’s to write about their Culinary Council event with Chef Josh Capon and attend the cooking demo. I love to cook, and love to eat even more, so this was a dream assignment.
For an hour I sat with a room full of foodies as Chef shared his stories and his secrets. It was a crash course both in the mind of a restaurant owner and in how to prepare restaurant-worthy food at home, covering everything from knife skills to the dreaded plastic lemon.
Always order dessert. Why? Because it’s a signal to the brain that the meal is finished. Plus, it’s dessert.
Season your food. By this, he means put kosher salt and pepper on your meat before and during the preparation.
Speaking of kosher salt, get a nice-looking bowl and just keep it on the counter. That way you can just grab some and sprinkle it from above, which gives you better control and keeps you from over-salting.
Do not buy pre-ground black pepper! Get a nice-looking pepper mill and keep it next to the bowl of salt. When you grind the pepper, you release the oils and get more flavor.
Use a knife block. Don’t put your knives in a drawer or on a magnet. With a knife block, you’ve got easy – and safe – access.
Put your utensils on the counter, too. Keep them in a vase or a tall container so you can access them quickly when you’re cooking.
Before you start cooking have everything chopped, sliced, and diced. This is called mise en place, which I knew from my serving days meant “everything in its place.” Chef asked who knew what it meant, I did, and he gave me $20. Score!
EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil) is your friend.
Make sure your pan is hot before you put the oil in it. Otherwise, you end up with oil-soaked food, and that’s just yucky.
The best way to cook a steak is in a cast iron pan.
Never ever ever buy those plastic containers shaped like lemons or limes. Ever. If you have one, throw it out. Use real fruit, man!
Cut a lemon vertically and you don’t have to worry about the seeds.
Cooking wine is bunk. Just don’t use it. Throw it out with the plastic lemon. Use a $3 – $4 bottle of wine instead.
As he was sharing these words of wisdom, he was preparing a three course meal. We got to try each course and were also given recipe cards so we could make them at home. I was all about that shrimp scampi, so I made it for dinner that night, and again Sunday night. We may just have it again this weekend. (What? It was really, really good!)
If you want to attend a future demo with a member of their council, check out bit.ly/MacysCulinaryCouncil to see who’s cooking next. In the meantime, try your hand at Chef Josh Capon’s Shrimp Scampi.
Chef Josh Capon’s Shrimp Scampi
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 lb U-15 Shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 2 oz garlic, sliced
- 1 cup White Wine
- 8 oz butter
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, cut in half
- 1 jalapeno, sliced thin (optional – I used about a third of one)
- 1 tbsp red chili flakes (I used about 1/2 that)
- 1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion*
- 1 lemon, cut in half
- 1/2 ounce parsley, chopped
- 3 sprigs parsley
- kosher salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
*The red onion wasn’t on the recipe card, but he used it in the demo so I included it in my preparation.
Heat a large saute pan over medium-high heat and then add the olive oil. (Make sure you heat the pan first – I didn’t the second time I made this and burned the garlic!) Add the garlic and stir until golden brown.
Season the shrimp with salt and pepper and add to the pan with the garlic. This will begin to turn pink and curl. When that happens, add the white wine, red onion, jalapeno, and chili flakes and simmer.
Add the butter and stir until melted.
Squeeze the lemon (fresh lemon, right?) into the pan and add the chopped parsely and stir. Season with salt and pepper.
Serve in a bowl and garnish with the parsley sprigs.
Serving suggestions: grilled garlic bread, rice, pasta, or a fork.