Want to impress mom with a simple yet refined dish this Mother’s Day? Check out my Calabrian Garlic Shrimp copycat recipe. Can you take a guess where this recipe came from? I’ll give you a hint – it’s one of the newer Italian restaurants on Oahu.
Figured out where I took inspiration for this recipe from? If you guessed Quiora Waikiki, then you’d be right! I didn’t even bother to change the name of what is probably their most popular dish.
Unfortunately, I didn’t get my Calabrian Garlic Shrimp copycat recipe spot on. But, I do think it came close enough and is equally tasty in its own way. One of my biggest misses, though, was not having enough sauce to sop up with bread. So, I’m going to try to address that shortcoming in this recipe.
Before we begin, there’s an important extra step you need to take. To do this recipe right, you need to get yourself some pasta water. Why pasta water? Well, pasta water is why restaurant pasta dishes are the way they are. The starch in the pasta water helps to emulsify sauces – especially those composed primarily of oils or butter. However, this recipe has no pasta in it. So, either you’re going to have to make a pasta dish the same day, or make some pasta the day before and save about a cup of the cooking liquid.
Might I suggest making my Mushroom Carbonara 2.0? But, in this instance, it’s best if you use dry pasta rather than fresh.
What You’ll Need
Pasta water aside, here are the ingredients you’ll need for this dish:
- 1 pound shrimp – I used Kualoa Shrimp, which are relatively small, though Quiora uses Kauai Shrimp – you can use whatever you want, really
- 2 tablespoons Calabrian Chili Oil – I used Quiora’s Calabrian chili oil, but you can find this on Amazon too
- 6 tablespoons Olive Oil + a little extra
- 2 heads GARLIC
- 1 cup reserved pasta water
- Kosher salt
- 1 lemon
- 1 bunch Italian parsley (optional)
- Sourdough Boule – I suggest going with Breadshop, Kam Family Bakery, or PAI Honolulu
I bought my most of my ingredients, including the shrimp, lemon, and parsley from Farm Link Hawaii. Availability varies, though, so be sure to check back often.
Special equipment you’ll need is a standard Microplane.
This recipe comes together SO FAST, you’ll really want to get your mise en place into place before you start.
If like me, you bought whole shell-on shrimp, you’ll need to remove the shell and devein them. I like shrimp heads, so I suggest trying to keep them on if you can. I’ve found, however, that it’s difficult to keep the heads on once you remove the shell. So just try your best. To devein your shrimp, all you need to do is take a pairing knife and cut a shallow slit along the back of the shrimp. Then, remove the vein (their gut and crap).
Then, you’re going to use your Microplane to grate a whole head worth of garlic cloves into a medium bowl. Add a pinch of Kosher salt, and a splash of olive oil to the garlic and mix to combine. Next, place your shrimp into the bowl and gently fold to coat each shrimp in your garlic mixture. By the way, if you’re using head-on shrimp, you probably want to use a spoon for this – they’re sharp. Once evenly coated, cover your bowl with plastic wrap, place in the fridge, and let marinade for at least 30 minutes.
While your shrimp is marinating, prep your other ingredients. At this point, mince a whole head of garlic, mince your parsley (if using), juice half your lemon and measure out 2 tablespoons of juice, measure out your 2 tablespoons of Calabrian chili oil, and if using reserved pasta water from the day before, reheat in the microwave for about a minute.
Once your shrimp is done marinading and all other ingredients are prepped, heat a pan with 6 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. When the oil is hot and just starting to smoke, add your shrimp to the pan. How quickly your shrimp cooks depends on the size you bought.
Since my Kula shrimp were so small, as soon as I finished laying all the shrimp in the pan, I went back and began flipping them all. Then, when I finished flipping them, I immediately removed them from the pan and set them on the side. That’s literal seconds. If, however, you’re using large shrimp (16-20), cook them for a minute on each side before removing them. Either way, make sure to leave the olive oil in the pan.
Once your shrimp are out, return your pan to the heat and add your minced garlic and cook stirring constantly until fragrant – about a minute. Then, add your Calabrian chili oil and half a cup of water. Stir to combine and heat until simmering. Kill the heat, taste your mixture and add salt as needed. You can add more chili oil too if you want it spicier. The main thing is you want to see a homogenous pan cause form. Once you’re happy, add your lemon juice and stir to combine.
Add your shrimp back to the pan and toss or stir to coat your shrimp. Then, plate your shrimp up, sprinkle with minced parsley if using, and serve with slices of sourdough bread – toasted if you like.
There you have it. This recipe is really simple and, if you buy pre-shelled shrimp, really quick with minimal prep work. The most challenging part is the technique, since there’s nothing worse than overcooked shrimp. But, once you’ve got your shrimp cooking technique down, it’s really easy to apply it to shrimp scampi and tons of other dishes.
As always, bringing these recipes to you is a labor of love. If you like this recipe, please consider supporting my recipe development projects by using my Farm Link Hawaii Link to sign up for their amazing service.