When I watched the episode of Cooks Country, it looked so easy. They had all their ingredients pre-measured into little bowls. They just dumped them into the mixing bowl. Done. However, in my kitchen this turned out to be an exercise in patience, as I devised substitutions for all the main ingredients. Yes, I had to change all the major ingredients. In fact, had it turned out terrible I couldn’t have blamed Chris Kimball, but because it still came of great I must still give him credit. In the end this turned out to be an inexpensive meal at just $6 (had I not made the substitutions it would have cost $16).
Recipe is here. Pulse bread in food processor to coarse crumbs. Bake at 375-degrees until golden and dry, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove crumbs from oven and reduce temperature to 275 degrees. Combine all ingredients (except shrimp) in large bowl, and grease the broiler pan.
Pat shrimp dry with paper towels and season with salt. Butterfly and cut hole through center of each shrimp (see recipe link for diagram) and place cut-side down on pan. Divide bread crumb mixture among shrimp, pressing to adhere. Bake until shrimp are opaque, 20 minutes. Broil shrimp until crumbs are deep golden brown and crispy, 3 minutes.
Overall these came out fantastic. 4-1/2 stars, especially considering I made the following substitutions:
- Colossal shrimp: the recipe calls for colossal shrimp (under 8 per pound). But even on sale they are still more than $10 per pound. I substituted some 16/20 shrimp I had in the freezer, which cost me just $5 per pound.
- Hearty white sandwich bread (like Arnold’s or Pepperidge farms): I tried to buy a loaf for $2, but it turned out to be a bait-and-switch tactic (ShopRite had filled up the sale rack with full priced items), and there was no way I was going to spend $3.79 for a loaf of bread. I substituted 3-day old Italian bread. The texture suffered because the bread was so stale, but the flavor was still great.
- Bottled clam juice. I had intended to buy this, but was mad at the supermarket for the bait-and-switch tactics of the bread, so stormed out of ShipRite without buying anything. I substituted homemade stock, made from the empty shrimp shells. This turned out better than clam juice, and saved my $2.29.
- Fresh parsley. I still had cilantro left over from the Beef Empanadas so substituted that. This was the only planned substitution.
- Scallions. Another victim of the “bait-and-switch” episode. I substituted regular onion, but wish I had the scallions.
Recipe Rating: 4-1/2 stars.
How much work? Small/Medium.
How big of a mess? Medium.
Start time 6:30pm. Dinner time at 8:00pm.