Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Giovanni's Shrimp Recreation...

One of the yummiest things I ate in Hawaii was the famous Giovanni's shrimp scampi off of a truck!  I figured a shrimp dish drenched in butter can't be hard to recreate right?  So I tried last night!

First, here's the original version:
The recipe I followed, you can get here.

I went to the store that night and bought two pounds of the 24-36 count raw white shrimp.  I ended up buying too much and saved half of it in the fridge.

This is where I strayed away from the instructions of the recipe and combined all the ingredients: butter, garlic, lemon juice, and Hawaiian sea salt into the pot and cooked on medium until the garlic started to caramalize.  This took about 5-8 minutes.  After that, I poured the white wine (a Chardonnay) in.

Then in goes the shrimp.  I made sure to not over cook the shrimp and only left these in there for around 3-4 minutes.

Voila!!!  The end product.  It was extremely good but I could not make my sauce into the pasty texture like how Giovanni's makes it.  Mine was kind of saucey...but still good.  Whenever I cook in butter, I always taste the butter...and I'm not sure why.  Maybe it's the brand I use all the time (Tillamook).  But I know when I eat at restaurants and their dishes are drenched in butter, it just tastes yummy...not buttery.  What am I doing wrong?

Anyhoo...so what does a girl wear the next day after buttery shrimp and rice?  Elastic waist skirt of course.

Cardigan - Nordstrom Halogen
Skirt - Target
Boots - Zappos.com

Oh yeah...do you see the van parked outside of the house behind us?  They're our neighbors who own a neighborhood Thai restaurant in our area and after seeing my dad in and out of our place building our deck and fence, he's hired my dad to do some exterior work for him.  My dad already built a whole gazebo for him already and now is working on a patio area they want enclosed with a fireplace!  I'll be sure to post up pics when it's near completion.  Also, our neighbor to the left of us also want my dad to build them a deck, storage shack and fire pit!  He's getting a lot of business apparently.  :) 


  1. re: the shrimp - I've never had Giovanni's (or been to HI, for that matter), but if you want the sauce to be more pasty, try added a little bit of flour or corn starch to it to make a rouxe like you do to start a cream sauce or gravy (closer to the end...maybe remove the shrimp after they are cooked and then add the flour). If you think the sauce tastes too buttery, it make be the butter you are using (and it is real butter, not margarine, right? That has a much stronger flavor), so you might want to switch - or try a salt free butter - that tends to be milder tasting to me. Also maybe try half butter and half extra virgin olive oil? I love cooking and experimenting, so that's the steps I would take, but I don't like shrimp so take that in to account, haha!

    Also, I love your boots!

  2. To thicken a sauce, make a roux (butter and flour)! Also, for butter, I personally only use unsalted, sweet cream butter--organic and preferably European style (higher fat percentage). I cant' stand the taste of salted butter in cooking, and like only sometimes spread on bread--but rarely.

    I add flour to stews and sauces to thicken, but you can also use corn starch (the way a lot of Asian dishes are thickened). I use a roux whenever I make mac n' cheese or French sauces.

    I don't eat shrimps anymore, but this dish looks divine!

  3. Cindy, my guess on that buttery taste is because most restaurant uses clarified butter rather than the store bought?? Milk fat is removed in a process to make clarified butter.. Just a guess.

  4. Ashley and Tien - I thought about making a roux for it but the texture at Giovanni's was different than that. I feel like they cooked the garlic longer maybe. I'm not sure. I saw another recipe that asked for roasted garlic in addition to the normal garlic, maybe the pastiness of the roasted garlic helps the sauce thicken up? I'll try it next time with a roux too though.

    LilMissSeamstress - Ahhh that must be it! I just googled clarified butter and I am going to try making that some time.

  5. I'm no saucier by any means, but I've made a similar-ish sauce for something else in the past and I recall the recipe asking for the sauce components (broth, wine, juice) to be simmered for a few moments to be reduced and then the butter to be added in at the end. I think the last minute addition of the butter also helps to thicken the sauce and make it "glossy." I also agree with Ashley and Tien to use unsalted butter.

    Take this advice with a pinch of salt (haha - OK not funny), I only think I know how to cook due to my honorary chef status after watching thousands of hours of Food Network and No Reservations. ;o)

  6. Lisa - I think that makes a lot of sense. Because the recipe did call for part of the butter to be added later but I added all of the butter right away. I will try the unsalted butter next time...but what do I do with all this salted butter? :)

  7. Ah... I love Giovanni's. I lived in Hawaii for several months while in residency and stopped there everytime I ventured to the North Shore... Why have I never tried to recreate it? I'm totally trying your recipe.
    Thanks! Maggie

  8. Giovanni's shrimp truck IS amazing! Makes going to the North Shore a really fun experience. I love the other Hawaiian islands much more than Oahu, but the North Shore and Giovanni's are not to be missed!


  9. Cindi - did you get the super spicy ones at Giovanni's? the people across from us must have had 4 cups of water REALLY quickly in a row right after having them!


  10. hs - Yes I did order that!!! We had the original and the hot and spicy. I'm a huge spicy food fan though so it wasn't bad for me...although I had to drink a lot of water...but it was still bearable. A lot of places don't dare to put something that spicy so I was surprised too when I tasted it. I always assume if it's too spicy for me, it's too spicy for most of the people. Hehee.

  11. Hey Cindi
    Thanks for sharing.
    I've never heard of Giovannis shrimp, i guess it must be famous in the states?
    I can't wait to try it on my hubby and myself!
    Nice outfit - perfect for those days after a carb-fueled meal!
    PS - By the way, i got a nasty comment on my blog yesterday. What is it with these Anons?? I'm going to turn it around though..

  12. You could never have too much shrimp! That looks so good. You've been having some really good food posts lately. I've just been really lazy and too busy and have been eating pasta with basic tomato sauce (from a jar) for about a week now. Sad.

  13. mm... I've never had Giovanni's shrimp, but I love me some shrimp! Good for you for trying to recreate a bunch of your fav foods you've had out at restaurants! I think the few times I've tried to do something like that, it hasn't quite turned out :)

  14. mmmm buttery tasting to me IS yummy!!

  15. Wow... this was such an informative post. I never appreciated all the ways to butter up a recipe. Feeling you on the elastic waist skirt for the day after :)

  16. Jen - Giovanni's is a shrimp truck famous in Hawaii only. It's oh so good!!! You'll have to try it if you ever go there.

    Liz - Feel free to steal that idea. We actually got the idea from our venue's photo book. And I know how hard it is to cook for one so I don't blame you for eating spaghetti all the time!

    Lori - Haha but at least you try!!! I've seen some of your older blog entries and you are quite the cook!!

    Robin - HAHA!!! Then you'd be all over this shrimp dish!! But wait...do you like shrimp? :)

    Cat - There are ton-so ways to use butter. I love it. I try to stay away from it as much as I can though.

  17. Good for your Dad! Giovanni's ahhh- I was green with envy there as J and our besties devoured plates of shrimp - I'm allergic :( You're home version looks yummy too! Maybe to thicken the sauce, use a little flour or cornstarch?

    xx Vivian @ http://diamondsandtulle.blogspot.com

  18. As much as I love (love, love, love) shrimp, I've never really cooked it at home. I totally need to reform - your dish looks delicious!!! Sounds like your neighbors know good work when they see it - how great for your dad!