Mr. Hungry and I are still hemming and hawing about what to cook for dinner…both for New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. I swear it’s one of our favorite past times – determining what to cook next together. Truly.
As I was making up a pan of Baked Stuffed Shrimp for our traditional Christmas dinner, I thought you might like to know how we make it in our house. Every year we wonder why we don’t make it more often. It’s certainly not difficult. Not with shrimp coming de-veined and ready to go.
Don’t you want to pop that right in your mouth?
I like to use nice big shrimp – in this instance I used (frozen, uncooked, de-veined) shrimp that were 8-12 count per pound. They came in a 2 lb. bag so I made a double recipe. Defrost them in the refrigerator or in a bowl of cold water set in the sink with the faucet trickling on for several minutes. Blot them dry to start.
If this is your only entrée I’d figure 3-4 shrimp per person (at that size) depending on what you serve with it. On Christmas, our tradition is to serve both Prime Rib and Baked Stuffed Shrimp, in which case people only eat a couple per person at most.
There’s nothing particularly magical and fantastical about the ingredients here. It’s the combination that comes together to make the best traditional Baked Stuffed Shrimp I’ve ever had anywhere. Aside from the shrimp itself, it starts with three main ingredients.
Ritz Crackers, Crab Meat and Butter
Come on now…tell me you haven’t eaten a whole sleeve of Ritz crackers at least once in your life. They are the Best for making buttery crumbly toppings and stuffings. I almost always have a box in the pantry. I crush them up in a gallon Ziploc bag using a rolling pin (hands work fine too). Since shrimp sizes vary and number of servings vary based on your guest list, just think of it as 2-3 crackers per piece of shrimp. It’s not an exact science.
I typically buy fresh canned crab meat, found in the refrigerator case next to the seafood counter. You certainly can use the small cans of crab found near the tuna fish too, but the fresh is…well fresher. It usually comes in 2 or 3 different grades. The claw meat is the least expensive and works just fine for stuffing. I save the Colossal for times when you want nice BIG chunks of crab (like making Crab Rolls with melted butter – in place of lobster-mmm). Here’s one type of fresh crab:
Baked Stuffed Shrimp:
1 lb. of Shrimp – As I said earlier I used the 8-12 count per lb (use smaller & don’t cook it quite so long) peeled, de-veined and split down the tail nearly all the way through so that they’re butterflied open to hold the stuffing
1 sleeve of Ritz Crackers, crushed fairly fine
1/2 c. Butter, melted
8 oz. Crab Meat
1 small onion, minced and sautéed till golden in a little butter
2 T. chopped Fresh Dill Weed (or 1 tsp. dried) – optional for you but not for me
Salt and Pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
You’ll be putting the shrimp into a greased serving dish (I like to use a nice dish you’d be proud to put on the table. I’m actually a little obsessive about that even when it’s just me & the Mr.) and use a size that will fit the shrimp snugly so that they hold each other up.
Take some stuffing in your hands & form it into a bit of an egg shape & place on top of each of the shrimp. Place them in the pan with the tails up.
Bake at 375 degrees for a mere 20 minutes. That’s it. Quick right? Shrimp don’t take long at all.
And there you go…a special treat fit for New Years Eve or any night for that matter. When you break it down, it’s not an overly expensive treat. I figure it costs less than $2. per shrimp, so do the math. It’s a whole lot cheaper than going out & better too.
Now, for a few ideas on variation. I always use dill weed, but you could eliminate it and add fresh chopped parsley instead. Some people add minced celery or fresh garlic sautéed along with the onion. You could put a few tablespoons of white wine in the dish if you’d like. Add chopped clams or scallops to the stuffing too. Some like to serve them with a little melted butter for dipping on the side, although there’s PLENTY of butter in there already (even for Mrs. Butterton). Serve with fresh lemon wedges to squeeze over the top if you want to brighten it up.
And there you go. An entrée fit for New Year’s Eve.
So long for now. I’ve got to figure out what I’m cooking for the holiday.
Ya got any ideas for me?
Wishing all of you a delicious New Year’s!