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  • Writer's pictureTommy Centola

Two dishes with shrimp twist

Shrimp season started at the beginning of April. Although shrimp are available all year-round, there is nothing like getting fresh shrimp at the start of the shrimping season. As much as I love my new hometown in Arkansas, I miss being able to drive 10 minutes to the shrimp lot to get some fresh off the boat to cook for dinner.

With this in mind, today I want to share with you two shrimp recipes. They are both twist on common dishes you find in restaurants. The first is Shrimp Manicotti, which is a very different version of shrimp and pasta. The second is Stuffed Shrimp. I can’t think of a restaurant that serves shrimp that doesn’t serve them fried. Wrapping a crabmeat stuffing around a shrimp and frying them brings fried shrimp to the next level. Let’s head to the kitchen!

This is a twist on the manicotti that is found on Italian restaurant menus. Often stuffed with just cheese and sometimes ground beef, the addition of shrimp lightens up this baked pasta dish. I think this dish is best served with an Alfredo sauce, but a tomato sauce works great as well.

Shrimp Manicotti

2 1/2 pounds medium shrimp, peeled and deveined

Salted water to boil noodles

1/2 cup canola oil

1 box manicotti noddles

1 pound mozzarella cheese, cubed

1 pound colby cheese, cubed

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1/2 cup panko Italian breadcrumbs

2 tablespoons garlic, minced and lightly sautéed

1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped

2 eggs

Creole seasoning to taste

16 ounces of your favorite pasta sauce (It can be white or red)

Preheat oven to 350℉.

Heat water and oil to a boil in a large pot. Drop noodles into boiling water one at a time. Boil until done, drain, and rinse well. Mix together the remaining ingredients, except the pasta sauce, and carefully stuff into the noodles. Place the noodles in a single layer in a glass baking dish and cover with pasta sauce. Cover and bake for 35-40 minutes.

Most cooks remember their biggest failure in the kitchen. When I was in my teens, I wanted to prepare Stuffed shrimp for my grandmother. I had gotten a late start making the stuffing. When it came time to assemble the shrimp, the stuffing hadn’t properly cooled.. It resulted in the stuffing not sticking to the shrimp and falling off in the fryer. I never made that mistake again. It also hasn’t stopped me from making this delicious dish.

Stuffed Shrimp

Crabmeat Stuffing

1 stick butter

4 sprigs fresh parsley, finely chopped

1 celery rib, finely chopped

1 medium onion, finely chopped

1 clove garlic, finely chopped

1 pound claw crabmeat, picked through for shells

1 loaf French bread

2 eggs

Creole seasoning to taste


3 pounds (about 36) fresh jumbo shrimp, peeled with tail on

2 cups flour

Egg Wash (See below)

Seafood Breading (See below)

Melt butter in skillet with seasonings (parsley, celery and onion) and sauté 10 minutes. Add garlic and sauté until garlic is golden brown. Add crabmeat and sauté an additional 5 minutes. While the crabmeat sautés, moisten bread (it should be wet but not soggy) in a bowl then chop it. Add eggs and mix. Add crabmeat mixture to bread and eggs. Season with Creole seasoning. Place in a baking pan and bake for 1 hour at 350 degrees. Remove from oven and allow to cool. Then place it in the refrigerator and cool to about 45 degrees. Sprinkle shrimp with Creole Seasoning. For each shrimp, place 1 tablespoon of stuffing in the palm of your hand, spread evenly to 1/8 inch thick. Place shrimp in stuffing, roll, and pat well. Roll shrimp in flour, then egg wash, then seafood breading. Fry in deep fryer at 350 degrees for 5 minutes or until golden brown.

Egg Wash

2 slightly beaten eggs

1 cup milk

Mix together.

Seafood Breading

3 pounds corn flour

3 tablespoons salt

2 tablespoons black pepper

1 tablespoon cayenne

1 tablespoon paprika

2 teaspoons Old Bay seasoning

1 tablespoon granulated garlic

Mix well. Store in an airtight container. It will hold for 3 months.

Shrimp is the most popular seafood in the world. With all the different ways to prepare it, unless you’re allergic to shellfish, there’s a recipe out there for you. When you are at your grocery store, look for wild caught domestic shrimp. They are much better than any farm raised overseas product.


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