Table for One

A Sheet-Pan Dinner for When You're Alone & Happy Alone

Weeknight shrimp scampi for one.

by:
November  8, 2018

Table for One is a column by Senior Editor Eric Kim, who loves cooking for himself—and only himself—and seeks to celebrate the beauty of solitude in its many forms.


Photo by Ty Mecham

When I was in Hawaii, I ate these large fleshy shrimp that had been tossed with garlic, mirin, and soy. Though they were listed as "garlic shrimp" at this Chinese restaurant which was, undoubtedly, for tourists, I don't know that they were properly "Hawaiian garlic shrimp," but rather very garlicky, very delicious shrimp that happened to be ingested in Hawaii.

In any case, I loved them so much that I went back multiple times after that. One of those times, I ordered two plates of the shrimp, plus beer and a couple bowls of jasmine rice. It was the perfect solo dinner.

Sometimes you just want to eat a lot of that one thing you really love, you know?

When I returned from my trip, I sought to recreate this shrimp in my own kitchenette. Always a glutton for shortcuts (I'm a busy single man), I turned, as I often do, to my most adored kitchen appliance to date: the quarter sheet pan. It's a mere 9x13 inches, just larger than a piece of printer paper, and there couldn't be a more perfect vessel for oven-baked solo dinners.

Join The Conversation

Top Comment:
“The scampi sounds like an ideal, simple but luxurious treat of a meal for one, and what isn't better with a bowl of white rice? : ) I have not logged on to comment since Mayukh Sen left, but your writing in general and this topic in particular got me to come out of my shell and give you a round of applause here from my singleton kitchen. Thank you for showing the delightful, decadent pleasures of being single. ”
— Whiteantlers
Comment

As my colleague Emma Laperruque once wrote in a love letter to the sheet pan, "If there’s anything cuter than a quarter sheet pan meal, just for me, I don’t know it, and I don’t want to."

When roasted at high heat in a quarter sheet pan like this, marinated shrimp cooks up gorgeously and begins to caramelize in its own juices, creating a sauce that's made even saucier thanks to a last-minute pat of butter and spritz of lemon juice. Though the usual scampi players are present (garlic, lemon, and red pepper flakes), I went with mirin instead of white wine and soy sauce instead of salt, lending it some of that Waikiki palate.

Sometimes you just want to eat a lot of that one thing you really love, you know?

I anticipate that many will wish to skip the optional pinch of sugar, but I implore you not to; for me, anyway, this dish didn't fully come together until that one pinch. But to each their own: That is the point of cooking for yourself, isn't it? You can tailor a recipe to your predilections.

As for my predilections, I like to eat this straight out of the pan with a bowl of white rice and an ice-cold beer, just as I had it in Hawaii.

What's your favorite way to cook shrimp? Let us know in the comments below.

10 Comments

Melissa M. November 13, 2018
Yum! I just made this with on-sale huge tiger shrimp. Had it with brown basmati. So happy to have recipes for one. Thanks.
 
Author Comment
Eric K. November 14, 2018
Ah, that makes me so happy. Thank you for reporting back. x
 
Irene Y. November 12, 2018
just added 3 new quarter sheet pans to our pantry, will definitely try these!
 
Author Comment
Eric K. November 12, 2018
Aka the best sheet pan.
 
Hon. J. November 11, 2018
I'm so happy to see a recipe for one! I'm a widow and love to cook, but hate always having to reduce the size of recipes!
 
Author Comment
Eric K. November 11, 2018
I'm here for you! More recipes for one here: https://food52.com/tags/table-for-one
 
CameronM5 November 10, 2018
Shrimp is the real chicken of the sea, you can really cook it anyway and it’s delicious. My favorite is seared with salt and pepper and then removed, then I deglaze with white wine and sauté asparagus & tomatoes. The tomatoes break down into a little sauce then I stir in pesto and return the shrimp. OMG 🤤
 
Author Comment
Eric K. November 10, 2018
Yum! Pesto-y shrimp is my favorite.
 
Whiteantlers November 8, 2018
Eric, I love this feature! The scampi sounds like an ideal, simple but luxurious treat of a meal for one, and what isn't better with a bowl of white rice? : ) I have not logged on to comment since Mayukh Sen left, but your writing in general and this topic in particular got me to come out of my shell and give you a round of applause here from my singleton kitchen. Thank you for showing the delightful, decadent pleasures of being single.
 
Author Comment
Eric K. November 8, 2018
Wow, what a thoughtful comment. Thank you so much. We singletons have to stick together, right?