Thursday, February 17, 2011

Shrimp Francesca

Recipe modified by Gretchen Wilson – August 26, 2010
For a commentary-free and printer-friendly version of it, please click here.

Recipe originally published by AllRecipes in the daily e-zine “The Daily Dish”.

Another dish that can be served as a main dish or an appetizer!  I decided to serve this over a bed of brown rice and eat it as actual meal.  This was a recipe created by one of the website’s readers.  As I was scanning the comments, so many people were complaining about the calories.  At 391 calories, I can think of a lot worse meals to eat.  I also found it interesting that you don’t cook the shrimp in the butter, but you bake it and use the butter as a drizzle.  I decided to go for it.

My finished product:

Picture published with recipe:


Not bad, right?  I removed the tails from my shrimp.  I always do unless the recipe specifically tells me not to do it.  I just don’t like having to stick my fingers near my mouth while I’m chewing to pull it off.  With my talent for hurting myself, I can absolutely see me biting my finger.

for more details about what my ratings mean, go to Gretchen’s Rating System

MessSIGH – As much as I hate cutting herbs, and small leaves are the worst, I didn’t have to cut too many to make my tablespoon.  No complex equipment needed and the mess was fairly contained in one pan.  However, peeling & deveining shrimp is ridiculously messy.  If you’re like me, you’ll end up with shrimp “juice” down your sleeves and on your cabinets and the veins stuck to your fingers.

Start-to-Finish Time: ABOUT AN HOUR – You have to shred cheese, chop herbs and peel a pound of shrimp.  All of those are fairly labor intensive tasks.  If you want to make sure you can get in around an hour, use dried parsley (I’ll give you information in the ingredient notes on how much to use) and deveined shrimp.

Prep Work: LOSS OF FINGER POSSIBLE – There are three very tedious tasks that need to be completed for this recipe.  The first is chopping the parsley.  Parsley has very small leaves that need to be pulled from the stem and then chopped.  The second is shredding the cheese, which is firm.  You’ll probably have a lot of fun getting it out of the wrapper too.  In fact, that was the most difficult task for me in this process.  Finally, peeling and deveining the shrimp.  I’ve already outlined the mess above, but I have to mention it again here since it is part of the prep.

Ease of Recipe: THE BASICS – As much as the prep work sucked, it wasn’t anything I didn’t already know how to do.  Knowing how to do it and wanting to do it are two separate things.  Other than using a fancier cheese (and it wasn’t too difficult to find) all the ingredients are readily available and there was no special equipment needed.

Overall:  NOT BAD – Honestly, it’s been a while since I made this dish.  I’ve written about dishes that I made even further back, and remember what how difficult the experience was and what it tasted like as if it were yesterday.  This one, I can vaguely remember making and thinking it wasn’t bad, but that’s about it.  Not a great indicator of a dish I’d make again.

Recipe Information:
Time estimates are from the original publisher of the recipe, not the length of time it took me to create it.  Look for my comments below.  Nutritional Information is based on original recipe.  Any changes I make to reduce the caloric, fat, cholesterol or sodium content are not reflected in the Nutritional Information.

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 4 main dish servings

Nutritional Information
  • Calories 391
  • Total Fat 25.2g
  • Cholesterol 236mg
  • Sodium 940mg
  • Total Carbohydrate 18.2g
  • Fiber 2.6g
  • Protein 23.6g

The estimate by Taste of Home is 35 minutes total time.  It gives you 20 minutes to peel and devein the shrimp, cut the parsley, shred the cheese and assemble the dish.  For me that was almost impossible to complete, and I used deveined shrimp (still had to peel).  I’m not sure I’d serve this as an appetizer.  It just didn’t have that reach out and grab you flavor that I like in my appetizer dishes.  I did serve this over brown rice, so I probably got about 6 dishes out of this instead of the 4.

There wasn’t much I could do to lighten up the dish.  You could probably cut down on the butter (but NOT the garlic) and bread crumbs.  In fact, I know you could probably use half the bread crumbs and still have plenty for the top of the dish.

Changes denoted by red text

1 pound uncooked large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 can (8 ounce) quartered artichoke hearts in water, drained
½ cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1 lemon, juiced
½ cup butter
1½ tablespoons minced garlic
1 tablespoon finely shredded imported Romano cheese
Coooking spray
Brown rice

Ingredient Notes:
Shrimp – when a recipe calls for large shrimp, look for 21/30 ct shrimp.  This means you’ll get approximately 21 to 30 shrimp per pound.

Artichoke Hearts – the original recipe called for whole artichoke hearts, but then later in the recipe tells you to break them into quarters.  I found it much easier to buy the quartered.  The real trick will be for you to find the artichoke hearts that are in water and not packed in oil.

Italian Seasoned Bread Crumbs – if you don't have Italian seasoned bread crumbs, you can make your own by adding 1 teaspoon of dried basil and oregano to the original bread crumbs.

Parsley – ordinarily, I'd say used dried herbs for an amount this small.  However, I happened to have some extra fresh parsley in my refrigerator that was going to waste, so I used it.  You can use 1 teaspoon of dried parsley if you don't have any fresh.

Minced Garlic – I used the pre-minced garlic that you can find in the produce section to save time.  The garlic isn’t the feature of the dish, so it works out fine.

Romano Cheese
  • Romano a firm cheese and you’ll find it near the Parmesan and Asiago bricks in the fine cheese section of your produce department/deli.
  • If you can’t find Romano, use Parmesan or Asiago, but make sure you buy the bricks and shred it yourself.

Cooking Spray – since you have to lightly grease your baking dish, I added cooking spray into the ingredient listing.

Brown Rice – serves as a good starch to serve with the shrimp and sauce.  You can also use pasta (wheat is the healthiest).

Equipment Needed:
Cutting board
Sharp knife
Box grater with side to shred cheese
9x13" baking dish
Small saucepan
Large spoon
Rice cooker or Small saucepan with lid

Equipment Notes:
Baking Dish – Ordinarily the difference between glass baking dishes and metal baking pans are the ability to withstand extreme heat and altered baking temperatures.  However, according to Better Homes and Gardens metal pans can react with eggs and acidic foods like lemons, so make sure you use a glass baking dish for this recipe.

Rice Cooker – You can absolutely make the rice in a saucepan.  I never gave a rice cooker a second glance until I met my husband.  One of the only appliances he had in his apartment was a rice cooker.  I quickly feel in love with it (and him, of course).  I just add rice, pour in the water, and forget about it.  It is GREAT!

(1)  Preheat oven to 375°F. Lightly grease a 9x13-inch baking dish with cooking spray.

(2)  Arrange the shrimp in the bottom of the prepared baking dish.

(3)  Gently squeeze any excess liquid from the artichoke hearts and arrange in spaces between the shrimp.

(4)  Sprinkle the bread crumbs and parsley over the shrimp and artichoke hearts; sprinkle lemon juice over the crumbs.

(5)  Melt butter with garlic in a small saucepan over medium-low heat; drizzle the butter mixture over the bread crumbs.

(6)  Sprinkle the top with Romano cheese.

(7)  Bake in the preheated oven until the crumbs and cheese brown lightly and the shrimp turn opaque and orange-pink in color, 10 to 12 minutes. Serve hot over brown rice.

The overall flavor of the dish was a delightful citrus and garlic shrimp.  I think the bread crumbs made it too heavy, but it was a success regardless.  If I decide to make this again, I will probably change a couple things:
  • Use artichokes packed in oil to give a little more flavor to the sauce.
  • Halve the bread crumbs used and make sure you spread them evenly across the dish.
  • Use a little more garlic to give the butter more spunk.

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