Friday, December 11, 2009

Easy Baked Shrimp

I just love all kinds of shell fish.  My favorite is crab, but I like any thing that swam or crawled on the ocean floor and will unashamedly suck out any bits of goodness I can get shortly after dunking them in melted butter.  Shell fish, "seafood" as he called it, was a special treat for my Father, also.  As a special occasion, we would go to a Chinese restaurant called the Bamboo Terrace where he would eat batter fried shrimp.  We would blissfully chomp away at pork chow mein while he ate his shrimp.  Sometimes, we got a Shirley Temple. 

I think that the most memorable times in child hood for most of us are times when our parents were happy.  So many young parents I know think they are giving quality times to their children by giving them "things".  My parents gave us very little that was material, but they created people who could do things for themselves and felt secure and safe, because that was who they were themselves.  Somehow that sounds better, myself.

I buy medium shrimp, several pounds at a time when it is on a good sale.  They package it for me in 1 lb packages which I immediately put in the freezer.   For what I do, I see no reason to pay extra for the large shrimp or prawns.  If you feel otherwise, go ahead.   

When I'm getting ready to cook them, I take off the wrapping and put the frozen chunk in my best colander in my sink.  I turn on the faucet and run warm water through, turning them with my fingers from time to time.  They thaw in about 10 minutes. 

I'm, oh, just a little compulsive about cleaning shrimp.  For each one, I pull off the shell.  Then I go after the little black vein that runs on its back from head to tail with a small knife.  You can buy them cleaned already if you prefer. 

Like most recipes I make, this is original, but started out as a combination of several other recipes I've seen and evolved into this. 

Easy Baked Shrimp
2 T. Olive oil 
1 T. Butter, melted
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 T. white wine 
1 lb medium shrimp, shelled and deveined. 
1/4 t. dried rosemary, crushed
1/4 t. dried sage
pinch of cayenne pepper
1/4 c. parmesan chees
1/2 c. panko bread crumbs or standard commercial bread crumbs.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  In an oven proof pan combine oil, butter, garlic and wine.  I love my porcelain coated cast iron skillet, but any type of pan that takes the heat will do.

Lay the cleaned shrimp in the pan so that they cover the bottom as one layer, tossing them slightly to coat them with the liquid.  

Combine the herbs.  Crush the rosemary between your fingers to break it into smaller bits.  If you must use another method to break up the rosemary, an herb grinder, or whatever, go ahead.  But you are missing the pleasure of having rosemary hands.  You deserve pleasure, don't you? 

Sprinkle the seasoning evenly over the shrimp. 

Combine the cheese and bread crumbs and sprinkle evenly over  top of the shrimp. 

Place the pan in preheated oven and bake for 5 minutes.  Take out the pan and turn each shrimp gently.  We'll disturb the bread crumbs, but that's okay.  Return it to the oven and bake an additional 5 minutes or until shrimp are pink and bread crumbs have browned just a bit. 

This is a nice thing to toss with pasta.  My husband likes it over rice.  Big surprise, I like to pick each one up and dump it in cocktail sauce, but if you know me, you knew that.

Here it is with brocolli and a cornmeal muffin. 

Remember to have fun.

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