Puttin’ On The Ritz

Puttin' on the Ritz Stuffed Shrimp.

Puttin’ on the Ritz Stuffed Shrimp.

Whenever I hear the song “Puttin’ on the Ritz” I think  of this recipe, so I have given it the name “Puttin’ on the Ritz Baked Stuffed Shrimp” and because I served it with a pilaf of Israeli couscous, that recipe is included here also.   This meal was a really nice combination of flavors and textures.  I hope you will like it.

A large bag of raw shrimp was  being featured at a terrifically good price at the supermarket this week, so I bought some.  Not having any specific plans for using them, I like to keep shrimp in the freezer because they are so versatile, and quick cooking.  But since I’m currently trying to incorporate at least one seafood meal per week, I decided to make baked stuffed shrimp with some of my ‘loot”.  Now I’m sure they are many, many ways to make the stuffing, but over the years I’ve developed a recipe that we both love, and its become my reliable way to pair any kind of fish with a stuffing.IMG_3286

What I do is make the stuffing (see recipe below), spread it in the bottom of a baking dish, and place the fish/seafood on top.  Drizzle a little melted butter over the top and sprinkle with seasonings.  Bake until the fish is tender.  This particular recipe may be called Baked Stuffed Shrimp, but it’s my version;  not the usual offering you would expect in a restaurant—same ingredients, but different look.

PUTTIN’ ON THE RITZ BAKED STUFFED SHRIMP

SERVINGS:    about 4    To make more adjust ingredients accordingly.

INGREDIENTS

  •  1 pound large shrimp, cleaned and deveined
  • 20 – 30  Ritz crackers, crushed
  • 1 stick butter, divided
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion, or green onions
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/4 cup chopped celery
  • 1/4 teaspoon celery salt
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon seafood seasoning, such as Old Bay
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice

1.  Preheat oven to 350*F.   Lightly grease a baking dish.

2.  Crush crackers and set aside in a bowl.

3.  Melt 6 Tablespoons butter in a skillet over low heat.  Add the onion, celery, and garlic and sauté lightly till onion is translucent. and celery is beginning to soften.

4.  Pour the vegetable mixture over the cracker crumbs, stirring until the crumbs are completely moistened.   Spoon the crumb mixture into the bottom of the baking dish, and spread in a flat layer.

5.  Arrange shrimp attractively on top of stuffing.  Melt the remaining 2 Tablespoon butter and add the 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice.  Drizzle over the shrimp.  Sprinkle with seafood seasoning.

Make a layer of stuffing on the bottom, and place seafood on top.  Drizzle with butter and sprinkle with seasonings.

Make a layer of stuffing on the bottom, and place seafood on top. Drizzle with butter and sprinkle with seasonings.

Bake till shrimp have turned pink and are tender, about 20 minutes.

In place of shrimp you could substitute tilapia, flounder, or sole fillets.  Also the stuffing can be expanded by adding in some finely  chopped shrimp, crabmeat, or small bay scallops.

While shrimp are baking, prepare the pilaf:

ISRAELI COUSCOUS PILAF

Israeli Couscous, tri-colored.

Israeli Couscous, tri-colored.

SERVINGS:   about 4

  • 1 cup Israeli couscous
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium shallot, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup red pepper, finely chopped
  • 1  1/4 cups boiling water

1.  In a medium skillet, heat the olive oil.  Add the chopped shallot and red pepper.  Saute over medium heat till vegetables start to soften. Add the couscous and cook to lightly brown the couscous.

Saute onion and pepper, then add couscous.

Saute shallot and pepper, then add couscous.

2.  Carefully add the boiling water.  Turn down heat to low simmer, and cook covered for about 8 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Cook couscous to al dente, or desired degree of doneness.  Remove from heat and leave covered another 3 – 4 minutes before serving.

Israeli couscous pilaf.

Israeli couscous pilaf.

This is a delicious meal.

This is a delicious meal.

SOURCE:   Carolyn’s Originals

Summer-strone-zpacho

A regional farmer’s market has opened nearby, and I couldn’t wait to go and browse all the stalls.  I just love looking at all the fresh produce, herbs, cheeses and baked goods.  My creative juices start to flow as I imagine what I could do with it all.   Everything was so tempting, that I had to exert great self-restraint, and therefore brought home mostly vegetables.

Using some of that bounty I put together this soup that bears some resemblance to Minestrone, except there are no beans, and instead of the usual ditalini I used Israeli couscous.  It is also a little like gazpacho except there are no peppers. It does contain cucumbers,  part of it gets pureed, and it can be enjoyed warm or cold.  Its a great summertime soup for a light lunch, or perhaps combined with a sandwich or salad for a light supper.  I’m not sure what to call it so let’s just say  —-  Summertime  Vegetable Soup.

INGREDIENTS

Serves 4

  • 1/2 cup Israeli couscous
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound Kirby cucumbers (3 med.size), peeled and sliced
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • one 15 oz. can fire-roasted tomatoes, diced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 medium zucchini
  • 1 small jar basil or mixed herbs pesto

DIRECTIONS

  1. In a pot of boiling salted water, cook the couscous until al dente, 8-10 minutes.  Drain and rinse with cold water.

2.  Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over high heat.  Add the cucumbers and cook stirring occasionally.  As they soften and become translucent, add the chopped onion and continue cooking another 4-5 minutes.  Don’t let them become too browned.  Stir in the tomatoes, paprika and vegetable broth.

3.  Using an immersion blender,  regular blender or food processor,  puree this mixture.  You may need to work in batches.  Return to the pot and stir in the couscous and shredded zucchini.  For cold soup refrigerate at this point.

4.  To serve warm, return the soup mixture to the stove and reheat, so the new added ingredients become warmed through.

5.  Serve the soup drizzled with the herb pesto.****

 

P.S.  This soup tasted even better the next day after flavors had time to meld.

 

****Stay tuned this week for my recipes on making your own pesto(s).

Source:  a Carolyn Original