Every Elegant Holiday Dinner Menu Features Shrimp Scampi

Serve Something Different This Holiday Season

Shrimp Scampi
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Who says you need to serve beef and poultry during the holidays? This elegant dinner menu featuring shrimp scampi will become your absolute favorite for entertaining, whether it's the holidays or just the weekend.

The rest of the menu complements the shrimp—the rice pilaf soaks up the wonderful lemony, garlicky butter from the shrimp; garlic toast adds crunch and more buttery flavor to the menu; a crisp green salad and a simple recipe for asparagus balance the rich entree.

And dessert is a showstopper: Chocolate macaroon bundt cake.

Although there are several items on this menu, much can be made ahead. Make the cake the day before your dinner party, and the bread can be assembled in the morning, along with the salad dressing. The pilaf and the shrimp have to be made just before serving, but they are simple recipes and will be ready in no time. 

Classic Shrimp Scampi

The centerpiece of your meal is a very indulgent recipe, but that's okay—it's the holidays! This is a classic recipe for shrimp scampi, where the shrimp are cooked in a delicious mixture of butter, oil, garlic, lemon juice, white wine, and parsley. If you can find fresh unfrozen shrimp (most shrimp is sold frozen), by all means, go for it. Just make sure they smell sweet and like the ocean. Defrost frozen shrimp in the fridge during the day of your party. 

Rice Pilaf

This foolproof recipe will become a staple in your repertoire.

The broth is at the boiling point when added to the rice, which shortens the cooking time and ensures that every grain absorbs the liquid. This recipe calls for thyme and marjoram, but feel free to use any herb you like. The bit of grated orange peel adds an unexpected brightness and color.

Roasted Asparagus

Asparagus tastes best when prepared simply.

This super easy recipe brings out its sweetness and tender texture. Roasting is best with thicker stalks, but if you only have thin asparagus just watch the oven carefully to make sure they don't get too dark and crispy. With just a hot oven, olive oil, and coarse salt, simple asparagus takes on a nutty, delicious flavor that complements almost any dish.

Pear and Greens Salad

Butter and frisee lettuces create the ideal base for the pears, walnuts, and blue cheese, and a dressing of oil, apple cider vinegar, sugar, and celery seed finish off the salad perfectly. Buy the pears a few days ahead of time and store them at room temperature all together in a brown paper bag—it is best that the pears are soft for this elegant, sweet, and crunchy salad.

Toasted Garlic Bread

Garlic bread is the traditional accompaniment to shrimp scampi and is the best vehicle for sopping up the sauce. This recipe combines butter and olive oil (instead of just butter) for a depth of flavor not found in most recipes. 

Chocolate Macaroon Bundt Cake

This wonderful cake is the perfect finishing touch to this celebratory meal. It's so big and gorgeous and has the most fabulous texture and flavor. Although there is a long list of ingredients, it is not difficult to make.