Rao's Italian-American restaurant in New York City's East Harlem opened in 1896 and is justifiably renown worldwide for its food, especially the beloved lemon chicken. But, getting a table at Rao's is next to impossible --- unless you're the Pope or Al Pacino. And, as much as I love the lemon chicken, my favorite Rao's dish is the shrimp scampi, many of the ingredients of which parallel the lemon chicken. In many ways, they're the same dish: one with shrimp and one with chicken.
Here is a version of shrimp scampi that is very similar to what Rao's serves. While it might not quite reach those ethereal heights, it's damned good.
1 lb. uncooked large shrimp, peeled, deveined and butterflied
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
3 garlic cloves, minced
Juice of 1 lemon
1/3 cup white wine
1/3 cup chicken stock
4 tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp. minced parsley
In a large bowl, toss the shrimp in the flour.
In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over high heat. Saute the shrimp until just barely cooked through, about 2-3 minutes, depending on the size of the shrimp.
Transfer the shrimp to a plate lined with paper towels.
Drain and discard the excess oil from the skillet. Return the pan to the stove and stir in the wine, lemon juice, chicken stock, Worcestershire sauce and garlic. Cook over high heat until reduced by about half. This will take 4-5 minutes.
Whisk the butter into the sauce and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Lower the heat to medium and add the shrimp to the pan, tossing to coat with the sauce and to reheat, about a minute.
Sprinkle with parsley just prior to serving.
I like to serve shrimp scampi on a bed of pasta.