Baked Stuffed Shrimp
My dad comes from a Catholic background and in Catholic tradition you don’t eat meat on Christmas Eve, you eat seafood, and then you have beef and turkey on Christmas Day. Or at least that’s what my dad’s family always did. While we are not Catholic, my dad likes to keep to this family tradition, I think it’s just because he likes this recipe! So each year I make baked stuffed shrimp for him just like his family had every Christmas Eve.
In this recipe colossal shrimp are stuffed with cracker and crab filling, then drizzled with butter and baked until cooked through but still moist. The filling can be made ahead of time and the assembled shrimp can be popped into the oven when guests arrive. The sizing guide for shrimp can be confusing. The term “colossal shrimp” means that there are 15 or under per pound.
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
2 cups diced crimini (baby bella) mushrooms
¼ cup minced yellow onion
3 tablespoons minced celery
1 tablespoon minced garlic
¾ pound jumbo lump blue crab meat
3 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley, divided
½ cup chicken broth
30 buttery snack crackers*, finely ground, about 1½ cups
Kosher salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1½ pounds (colossal U/15) shrimp, shelled & deveined, leaving tail intact
¼ teaspoon paprika
1 lemon, cut into wedges
Preheat the oven to 375°.
Heat a large sauté pan over medium heat, add 3 tablespoons of butter and allow to melt. Add the mushrooms, onions, celery, and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables have softened and the liquid the mushrooms give off is evaporated, about 6 minutes. Add the crabmeat and half of the parsley, and stir gently on medium heat until combined but the crab remains in large pieces, about 1 minute.
Stir in the chicken broth and crushed cracker crumbs and remove from heat. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Cut the shrimp from head to tail along the backside to butterfly the shrimp. Open each butterflied shrimp, so they are flat with the cut side facing up. Mound about 2 tablespoons of stuffing on each shrimp, press gently to adhere. Place the shrimp stuffed-side up in a 12 x 9 baking pan.
Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter in a small bowl and brush it on the shrimp. Sprinkle with paprika and bake until the shrimp are pink and no longer translucent, about 20 minutes.
To serve: Serve the baked stuffed shrimp immediately topped with the remaining parsley and with the lemon wedges on the side.
Serves 8 as an appetizer.
*Note: This recipe has been tested using Ritz crackers. 30 crackers is about 1 sleeve of crackers. Using crackers instead of plain breadcrumbs will create a moist buttery flavor.