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Sunday, March 8, 2009

Fish Feast: Recipe

I find the last few weeks of winter dreary and I tend to sink with a case of weather-induced blues but on spring-time weekends like this one, I snap out of my cocoon and indulge in outdoor fun and indoor cooking that is as light as the long days. As I made up the shopping list I decided to leave behind the meat and create lighter dishes for the week. Tonight was a favorite that I've not had in a really, really, long time - baked, stuffed, shrimp. It's the perfect dish for a perfect day like today - where you're wearing light jackets and playing outdoors but as the sun begins to fall you're cool again. This fills your tummy but only just enough. The flavors were excellent. You may need to gently pull apart each shrimp as you "stuff" them but be sure you let the fish monger know that you're preparing them to be stuffed and this will minimize your efforts at home.

Baked Stuffed Shrimp
1 1/2 Lb. Colossal Shrimp (tails in tact, cleaned, deveined and butterflied)
3 Tbsp. Olive oil
3 large garlic cloves
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
1 celery, chopped
8 oz. Backfin crab meat, gently rinsed and separated and patted dry
juice of 2 lemons
1/3 cup breadcrumbs + 3 Tbsp.
1/4 cup Pecorino-Romano cheese + 2 Tbsp.
1/2 cup parsley

Preheat oven to 375. Coat the bottom of a large baking dish with 1 Tbsp. oil.

Chop finely in a food processor the garlic, parsley, carrot and celery. In a large bowl, mix the garlic mixture with the crab meat, juice of 1 lemon, 1/4 cup cheese and 1/3 cup breadcrumbs. With fingers, gently spread open the shrimp, along the backside where the vein was removed, and stuff about 1 1/2 tsp. mixture into the shrimp. Place onto the oiled dish, tail side down. Repeat until all shrimp are stuffed and the dish is about full.

Using your hands, mix together the remaining cheese and breadcrumbs and sprinkle them over the shrimp. Drizzle the remaining lemon juice over the shrimp and finally drizzle with the remaining oil.

Bake for about 25 minutes and then switch to broil and broil another 3-4 minutes or until the tops are nicely browned. Serve with extra lemon.

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