Sheet-pan shrimp scampi for when you're alone and happy alone

The perfect weeknight dinner for one

Published November 11, 2018 8:00PM (EST)

 (Ty Mecham/Food52)
(Ty Mecham/Food52)

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When I was in Hawaii, I ate these large fleshy shrimp that had been tossed with garlic, mirin, and soy. Though they were listed as "garlic shrimp" at this Chinese restaurant which was, undoubtedly, for tourists, I don't know that they were properly "Hawaiian garlic shrimp," but rather very garlicky, very delicious shrimp that happened to be ingested in Hawaii.

In any case, I loved them so much that I went back multiple times after that. One of those times, I ordered two plates of the shrimp, plus beer and a couple bowls of jasmine rice. It was the perfect solo dinner.

Sometimes you just want to eat a lot of that one thing you really love, you know?

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When I returned from my trip, I sought to recreate this shrimp in my own kitchenette. Always a glutton for shortcuts (I'm a busy single man), I turned, as I often do, to my most adored kitchen appliance to date: the quarter sheet pan. It's a mere 9x13 inches, just larger than a piece of printer paper, and there couldn't be a more perfect vessel for oven-baked solo dinners.

As my colleague Emma Laperruque once wrote in a love letter to the sheet pan, "If there’s anything cuter than a quarter sheet pan meal, just for me, I don’t know it, and I don’t want to."

When roasted at high heat in a quarter sheet pan like this, marinated shrimp cooks up gorgeously and begins to caramelize in its own juices, creating a sauce that's made even saucier thanks to a last-minute pat of butter and spritz of lemon juice. Though the usual scampi players are present (garlic, lemon, and red pepper flakes), I went with mirin instead of white wine and soy sauce instead of salt, lending it some of that Waikiki palate.

I anticipate that many will wish to skip the optional pinch of sugar, but I implore you not to; for me, anyway, this dish didn't fully come together until that one pinch. But to each their own: That is the point of cooking for yourself, isn't it? You can tailor a recipe to your predilections.

As for my predilections, I like to eat this straight out of the pan with a bowl of white rice and an ice-cold beer, just as I had it in Hawaii.

Sheet-Pan Shrimp Scampi for One
Serves: 1

1/2 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 cloves garlic, grated
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon mirin
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pinch sugar, optional
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 lemon, zested and juiced
1 tablespoon butter
1 bowl white rice, for serving

Click here to read the full recipe.

By Eric Kim


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Food52 Recipes Shrimp Shrimp Scampi