Seafood

          New England style stuffed baked shrimp
            Tilapia Seasoned, Sautéed and Served on a Bed of Brocoli Rabe
          Bay Scallops Quick Seared with Seasoned Flour
        Sea Scallops Also Seared with Seasoned Flour
        Spicy Shrimp


New England style Baked stuffed shrimp
My family used a simple delicate stuffing of Ritz’s cracker and butter for shrimp and other seafoods.
 
Like most stuffing, they began with a Battuta of finely chopped celery, onion (or scallions), and garlic, flavored with a fortified wine (i.e. sherry, Marsala, Madeira), and lemon juice.  Herb of choice is Italian parsley.  Some added a dusting of Old Bay Seasoning. Finished dish usually served with lemon wedges.  Like many family recipes, proportions were never documented.  It’s tough to share recipes that call for a little of this and that. 

Fortunately, many similar Ritz and butter-based recipes are common on line with mostly similar proportions. 

My recipe includes some of my preferences.  I'm fond of dry sherry and tarragon with pronounced butter recipes.  Tarragon can be combined with parsley or substituted.  My recipe also eliminates onion and/or scallions.  I think their flavors are distractions. 

Stuffed shrimp can be made to serve individually or casserole style.  Dense version, if you want the stuffed shrimp to be served individually, you can pack the stuffing tightly in a mound in the center of the inside convex circle (my preference) of the shrimp.  Crush crackers finer and add more melted butter. 

If you prefer your stuffed shrimp lighter packed, casserole style, crush Ritz crackers a little courser, stuff looser and support stuffed shrimp by placing them next to one another when baking.  Sprinkle top with any leftover stuffing and dot or drizzle tops with extra butter. 
    
This recipe will serve 4 heavy eaters, perhaps 6 moderates at a lady’s luncheon.  I plan on about 1 1/2 pounds of shrimp.  That’s the equivalent of about 25 to 30 extra jumbo shrimps (16-20 shrimp per pound).  Culinary sources often recommend about 4 ounces per person, but don’t reflect the appetites of family and friends!  Then again, Italians always lean towards more than less; how embarrassing to not make enough for some take home!

Note, shrimp size designations aren’t standardized.  I.e., “jumbo” may be different by store.  Always look for actual count range. 

Ingredients:
  • 1 ½ pounds shrimp, “Extra Jumbo” 16-20 per pound
  • 7 13-count sleeves Ritz original crackers (about 91 crackers)
  • ½ cup finely chopped celery
  • 2 medium-large garlic cloves finely chopped
  • 1 ½ sticks unsalted butter (12 tablespoons)
  • 2 tablespoons dry sherry
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 ½ tablespoons chopped parsley (and/or tarragon)
Shrimp, remove shells, all but tail sections and devein.  Butterfly without cutting through to make a pocket to hold stuffing. 

Preheat oven to 375° convection.  Spray a baking pan with nonstick.

Crush Ritz’s crackers (please see discussion above regarding how fine) and place in a bowl large enough when ready to toss with stuffing ingredients.
     
In a separate pot melt 1 stick (8 ounces of butter) over low heat.

Finely chop celery and garlic.  Sauté them with 2 tablespoons of the butter until softened and garlic is translucent.  Be careful not to burn garlic.  Incorporate with melted butter, sherry, and lemon juice.
        
Assemble stuffing, toss Ritz crackers with butter mixture, parsley/tarragon.  As discussed above, if a denser stuffing is desired, add more melted butter from the additional reserved butter.

Using surgical gloves, make a ball with stuffing in the palm of hand.  Lay a shrimp outside circle side in hand, secure stuffing ball inside circle (convex) side by squeezing.  Organize on baking pan.  Dot with butter (or melt and drizzle) over shrimp.  Place in over.  Shrimp will be ready in only 10 to 12 minutes.  Please do not overcook.

Serve with lemon wedges.  Optional, lightly sprinkle with Old Bay Seasoning.

        

Tilapia Seasoned, Sautéed and Served on a Bed of Brocoli Rabe

Mild tasting Tilapia is popular and economical.  Preparations are versatile.  Most are easy and quick.  Sautéing fillets with coatings as simple as olive oil and fragrant herbs are my favorite.  Tuscan style season blends are favorites.  My homemade and sundried has sage, rosemary, garlic and Kosher salt.  I also like HERBES de PROVENCE, Greek Seasonings, prepacked seafood and general blends.                   

Brocoli rabe is washed, trimmed, and par boiled in chicken broth.  It is set aside while broth is mostly evaporated.  Soon after fillets are coated, their flavor pot is ready to be created.

Garlic cloves are lightly tanned and softened over moderate heat in generous amounts of oil.  Cloves are reserved.  A side of each fillet is sautéed until lightly brown, about 4 minutes.  When flipped, rabe and reserved garlic are added alongside in pan and tossed frequently.  Tilapia is ready when flaky and just cooked through, about 3 minutes or so.   Try not to overcook.  Test for seasoning especially if herbs are salt free.   Recipe serves two, perfect portions for Nancy and me.        

Ingredients:
  • 2 tilapia Fillets, about a pound
  • 1 bunch Broccoli Rabe (Rapini)
  • 1 14.5 inch can chicken broth
  • 5 large garlic cloves
  • Tuscany or other favorite seasoning
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper as needed

Rinse and pat tilapia dry.  Coat sides with olive oil and liberally sprinkle with seasoning. 

Rinse rabe.  Cut and discard an inch off their rough stalks.  Remove any wilted outer leaves and cut stalks into 1 to 1 ½ inch lengths.  Place in a pot with the chicken stock.  Bring to a boil.  When rabe softens to a gentile bite, remove rabe with a with slotted spoon.  Continue boiling remaining broth until is almost evaporated.  Remove from heat.  When at room temperature place rabe back in pot.      

Remove garlic tips and skin.  Cut cloves in half lengthwise.  Slowly sauté cloves in a large pan with a generous amount of olive oil.  When soft and lightly tanned, put cloves with rabe.   

Increase pan to medium-high.  Cook tilapia covered until their bottoms are moderately browned, about 4 minutes.  Flip fish and surround it in the pot with rabe.  Toss rabe with garlic cloves.   

Fish is ready when flaky, just cooked through about 3 minutes.  Adjust seasoning. 

Mound rabe in the center of both plates.  Place a fillet on each bistro style.  Drizzle with liquid from flavor pan.  Optional, serve with a lemon wedge.  Enjoy. 



Bay Scallops Quick Seared with Seasoned Flour
Easy Eats
Bay Scallops flourish along Florida’s west coast waters.  Scallops are found close to shore in relatively shallow grassy flats.   Scalloping has become a fun fall tradition for Floridians.  Season usually begins early July. 

When in season, fresh Bay scallops are sold in seafood departments of local grocery stores.  They’re also available frozen in seafood cases year-round.  The best part, they can be reasonably priced.  My local Walmart recently had one-pound packages, 80-120 per pound for only $6.99 each.

Quickly and gently cooked, Bay scallops are sweet and tender.

This is perhaps the easiest recipe.  Scallops are drained, dredged in seasoned and very quickly seared in cooking oil.  An easy, economical, and rewarding treat. 
      
Ingredients:
  • 1-pound Bay Scallops, 80-120 per pound
  • KENTUCKY KERNEL Seasoned Flour™” by Hodson Mills
  • Cooking oil
Defrost scallops if frozen.  Drain excess liquid.
Dredge in seasoned flour and shake off excess.
Quick sear in oil while tossing until just cooked through, just a few minutes.
Shown served with Cajun style “dirty rice”



Sea Scallops Seared with Seasoned Flour
As discussed above, wild caught Bay Scallops from Florida's Gulf coast are not only abundant but available frozen year-round.  In addition, prices are very reasonable.

As delicious as they are, larger sea scallops bring eating experiences up another notch.  Their larger size allows slightly longer searing without overcooking and are juicier, more moisture.

Prepare the same as bay scallops shown above.  However, reserve all juices when scallops are removed from their package. 

Dust with seasoned flour and quick sear brown.  Flip once.  Scallops should be cooked until still slightly translucent or just barely cooked through.  Scallops wil continue cooking slightly while resting.

      
Ingredients:
  • Large Bay or Sea Scallops
  • KENTUCKY KERNEL Seasoned Flour™” by Hodson Mills
  • Cooking oil
Defrost scallops if frozen. Retain all-natural juices.

Dredge in seasoned flour and shake off excess. Quick sear in oil on each side until just cooked through, only a few minutes. Quick toss with juices to create a slight glaze, see photo, and serve. 

Shown served with white rice made with chicken broth


Spicy Shrimp
Shrimp is simply dry coated with “KENTUCKY KERNEL Seasoned Flour™” by Hodson Mills.

Dredging applies just the right amount of seasoned flour while quick searing crisps the shrimp and locks in flavors. Most important, unlike complicate recipes, shrimp’s delicate flavors are wonderfully enhanced and not overpowered.

Makes an incredibly simple meal served with your favorite vegetable and Rice.
Ingredients:
  • Large uncooked shrimp, 31/35 per pound
  • KENTUCKY KERNEL Seasoned Flour™” by Hodson Mills
  • Cooking oil
Shell and de-vein shrimp; rinse and dry.

Dredge in seasoned flour. Quick sear first side in medium hot oil to crisp, locking in the coating. Flip once to finish. Important, sauté until just cooked through. Overcooked shrimp shrinks, dries and becomes tough.

Place on a paper towel. Serve immediately.