A brandy flame adds some excitement to the preparation of this classic summer shrimp scampi.
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil ( EVOO )
- 2 large shallots, finely chopped
- 4 large cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon fennel seed
- 1/4 cup brandy or sherry
- 3/4 cup dry white wine
- 1/2 cup chicken or seafood stock
- 1 1/2 pints cherry tomatoes or grape tomatoes, halved
- 2 pounds jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined, tails left on
- Salt and pepper
- A handful of flat leaf parsley, chopped (about 2 tablespoons)
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- Ciabatta bread slices, grilled or broiled, for mopping
In a large skillet  with a tight-fitting lid, heat the EVOO , four turns of the pan , over medium-high heat. Add the shallots, garlic, crushed red pepper and fennel seed. Cook, stirring, until the vegetables soften, about 2 minutes. Add the brandy and, using a long kitchen match or a barbecue lighter, ignite the alcohol. Turn off the heat and let the flame subside. (If you’re using sherry, just stir it in.) Add the wine and simmer until reduced by half, about 3 minutes.
Add the stock and tomatoes; cook until the tomatoes are heated through, about 2 minutes. Add the shrimp and season with salt and pepper. Cover the pan  and simmer, shaking the pan occasionally, until the shrimp are opaque in the center, about 3 minutes. Stir in the parsley and lemon juice. Serve with the bread.