Midnight Shrimp Scampi

Tiger Prawns, Sambal, Lime, Cilantro, Garlic Butter Sauce

I call this “Midnight” Shrimp Scampi because it comes together in 10 minutes, is light enough for a late night snack, and filling enough to call dinner. Garlic, butter, Indonesian hot sauce and lime create the perfect balance.
Mop up the sauce with some crusty bread, wash it down with a couple of ice cold beers, and you’ve got yourself a spectacular treat.

Note: This recipe originally came from Doc Ford’s Sanibel Rum Bar and Grille on Sanibel Island, FL. It was later dissected and adapted for home use by the New York Times. The full story and recipe here are worth the read for the inspiration alone. And yes, a full subscription to Cooking with the New York Times will run you $5.99 per month, and is worth every penny.

I have further adapted it here for the sake of expediency and simplicity – my version comes together very quickly, doesn’t require boiling the shrimp, and can be made in a single skillet.


  1. 1 lb large (13-15 ct) raw shrimp, peeled and deveined. (13-15 ct refers to how many shrimp you can expect to get in 1 pound).
  2. 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  3. 2 -3 cloves garlic, pressed and allowed to sit for 10 minutes
  4. Juice of 2 large limes
  5. 2 tablespoons Sambal, Sriracha or other hot sauce of choice
  6. 2 tablespoons minced cilantro
  7. Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


While simple, this dish does require just a bit of quick stove work to get it right. You don’t want to brown the garlic; therefore, melt the butter over medium heat and add the garlic while it is still foaming.

Swirl garlic in the pan with the butter for about 30 seconds, then quickly add the lime juice and hot sauce and shake vigorously to stop the cooking process. Keep the pan moving.

Add the shrimp to the pan and toss to coat. Allow to simmer in the sauce, stirring and tossing constantly, until no longer translucent but not yet fully curled (once they look like tires, they’re overdone). This is easier to do than you might think, so off the heat slightly before you think you need to. Internal temperature should be about 140°F.

Season with salt, pepper, and cilantro and toss again to coat. Cover and allow to rest for 3-5 minutes – shrimp will cook through during this time.

Serve with a couple of beers and a nice crusty bread to mop up the sauce.


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