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Scampi a la "Joe Dogs"

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TasunkaWitko View Drop Down
aka The Gipper

Joined: 10 June 2003
Location: Chinook Montana
Status: Offline
Points: 14741
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    Posted: 12 March 2018 at 14:40

This recipe comes from The Mafia Cookbook, by Joseph "Joe Dogs" Iannuzzi, a former member of La Cosa Nostra. I was introduced to this cookbook by a friend of mine several years ago, and really enjoy it. You can learn more about Joe Dogs and the book here:

This anecdote and recipe come from a time in Florida when Joe and Tommy Agro had a drug deal about to go down:

Quote Jiggs was a Columbo Family capo from Brooklyn who liked to tell people he'd retired to Miami.


You retire from the mafia when you retire from living. It's like the IRA motto: "Once in, never out." Anyway, Jiggs had set up a meet with two suitcases from New York who needed investors in a marijuana smuggling operation. He figured Tommy Agro could come up with some fast cash. T.A. brought me to the meet as a backup.
Bobby Amelio and his partner, Rabbit Fusco, were a couple of knockaround Mafia wannabees - babes in the woods, we called those kind-who were always on the fringe of a hustle. T.A. didn't like them, but "like" didn't matter to Tommy when money was involved. Jiggs made the introductions and began pouring drinks while I headed to the kitchen to impress the guys with my Shrimp scampi.

Now i know you're gonna say "Whoa, half a pound of butter and sour cream?!" But remember, these guys ain't  exactly concerned about their cholesterol count. So when serving guests with more normal appetites just keep the sauce on the side.

Quote Shrimp Scampi A La Joe Dogs

A very different scampi recipe that you'll enjoy.

2 lb 16-20 shrimp
1/2 lb (2 sticks) butter
1 shallot, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups sour cream
2 tbsp chopped dried chives
1 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp pepper
1 tsp accent (optional)

Shell, de-vein and butterfly the shrimp. Set on a large flat pan and set aside.

Melt butter in a good thick metal pot and add shallot and garlic. SautÚ 3 to 5 minutes over low heat.

Add sour cream and stir. Sour cream will be thick at first, but thin down as it's heated.

Add chives, garlic powder and Accent.

Simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally for 30 to 45 minutes, until it thickens to a nice texture.

If you're going to broil the shrimp, watch them closely so they don't overcook, or pan sautÚ them.

Pour sauce over the cooked shrimp and serve over hot cooked rice.

"What are you gonna cook for these guys Joe? I didn't know you knew how to cook." Jiggs, a huge man with an Italian cigar nob apparently surgically attached to the side of his mouth, looked impressed.

"I used to be a sauce chef when i was a working stiff," I told him. "I like foolin' around in the kitchen."

"You mean you retired from workin' so you could become Tommy Agro's valet, chauffeur and f___king cook?" he asked. I lifted a large carving knife from the block and Jiggs went back out to the living room while I went back to my shrimp.

Anyway, here is a look at the recipe, as prepared by my friend:

Quote OK folks...we're off to the races with the scampi. Here's basically what we started with:

Minced up the shallots and garlic nice and fine

Trimmed the asparagus, tossed it in extra virgin oil and seasoned with granulated garlic and pepper, then heated the oven to 350░

Got some butter melting to start the sauce, and measured out my other ingredients

Then stirred in the sour cream to get the sauce stared in earnest

Peeled and de-veined my shrimp and seasoned them up with pepper and a bit of Old Bay that is the only liberty I took with this recipe...then pan sautÚd them for 2 minutes a side, and popped them into the pot with the sauce and removed it from the heat.

Then plated it all up and dove in head first

The Verdict:...Awesome! My wife even said "you should make the rice like that all the time, I'd learn to love rice"  This recipe is quite different, mainly because of the sour cream, which add a nice tang to it...almost a citrus note, like you had put a teaspoon of lemon zest in there. I will definitely put this one in my regular rotation of favorites. I would encourage you all to try it, and maybe add a little onion powder as well as garlic powder to the sauce. As for my improvisation (the Old Bay), it was a nice complement to the shrimp...didn't overpower anything, just added a little something to the shrimp that the garlic sauce alone wouldn't. When I make it again, the Old Bay will be used again.

When we tried it this past weekend, we made it essentially the same way, except we didn't have any Old Bay or Accent, so substituted with a locally-produced seasoning blend.

Everybody really enjoyed it ~ to me, the things that make it "unusual" are also the things that really make it good. The sour cream especially makes this really nice, and I had no complaints at all about it. The rest of the family enjoyed it too, and we will be making it again.

It's worth trying, guys - and I am guessing that seafood is on sale at most markets right now, so there's no reason not to! If anyone gives this a go, be sure to report on it and how you liked it.

Enjoy! ~


Edited by TasunkaWitko - 12 March 2018 at 14:42
TasunkaWitko - Chinook, Montana

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