To celebrate 20 years of the most-watched cooking show on public television, America's Test Kitchen fans around the country voted for their favorite recipes from the series. The results were presented in a television show special, and we learned that viewers can't get enough of this shrimp scampi.

The cooks at ATK use a few tricks to make this a flavorful dish. First, they brine the shrimp in salt and sugar to season them throughout and keep them moist and juicy. Then they poach them in wine, so they cook evenly. To get good seafood flavor into the sauce, they make a stock from the shrimp shells. And for more character, they use a generous amount of garlic. Finally, to keep the sauce silky, but not too rich, they add a teaspoon of cornstarch instead of butter. Here's the full recipe.

Shrimp Scampi from America's Test Kitchen


  • 3 tablespoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 1/2 pounds shell-on jumbo shrimp (16 to 20 per pound), peeled, deveined, and tails removed, shells reserved
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice, plus lemon wedges for serving
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 8 garlic cloves, sliced thin
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley


Dissolve salt and sugar in 1quart cold water in a large container. Submerge shrimp in brine, cover, and refrigerate for 15 minutes. Remove shrimp from brine and pat dry with paper towels.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in 12-inch skillet over high heat until shimmering. Add shrimp shells and cook, frequently stirring, until they begin to turn spotty brown and skillet starts to brown,2 to 4 minutes. Remove skillet from heat and carefully add wine and thyme sprigs. When bubbling subsides, return skillet to medium heat and simmer gently, occasionally stirring, for 5 minutes—strain mixture through a colander set over a large bowl. Discard shells and reserve liquid (you should have about 2/3 cup)—Wipeout skillet with paper towels.

Combine lemon juice and cornstarch in a small bowl. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil, garlic, pepper flakes, and pepper in now-empty skillet over medium-low heat, occasionally stirring, until garlic is fragrant and just beginning to brown at edges, 3 to 5minutes. Add reserved wine mixture, increase heat to high, and bring to simmer. Reduce heat to medium, add shrimp, cover, and cook, occasionally stirring, until shrimp are just opaque, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove skillet from heat and, using a slotted spoon, transfer shrimp to a bowl.

Return skillet to medium heat, add lemon juice–cornstarch mixture, and cook until slightly thickened, 1 minute. Remove from heat and whisk in butter and parsley until combined. Return shrimp and any accumulated juices to skillet and toss to combine. Serve, passing lemon wedges separately.