Some Baked Stuffed Shrimp For Your Feast Of Seven Fishes, Or For Whenever

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Some Baked Stuffed Shrimp For Your Feast Of Seven Fishes, Or For Whenever

These aren't mine, they're from Twin Oaks in Cranston, RI

As you may or may not know, many Italians, even those of us who are not even Catholic, do seafood on Christmas Eve — which is much more of a "thing" for us than actual Christmas Day. It's called the Feast of Seven Fishes, but if I am honest, we really only do the Feast of Four or So Fishes, Five If You Count The Sardines That Only My Dad Eats. Seven fish is a lot of fish for one family, unless you are making cioppino or something.

One of our favorite things to make for Christmas Eve is baked stuffed shrimp, a delicacy from our homeland (by which I mean Rhode Island, not Naples).

So you can make them for your Feast of However Many Fishes, or you can make them another time. I find that it is a good choice for the first time cooking for someone you are dating, on account of the fact that it seems really impressive but is relatively cheap and easy to make, so if it doesn't work out, it's not like you invested all that much in it. No braciole until the third month in, though, I say.

You will need:

However many pre-cooked jumbo shrimp you want, I'd say about 4-5 per person but your mileage may vary
Ritz crackers, like a sleeve or two usually, more if there are more people
Melted butter, start with a cup and see how that goes
Parsley (the kind in the shaker is FINE)
Little bit of garlic powder, if you want
Lemon juice
Mashed potatoes (optional!)

So all you're gonna do here is dump a sleeve of the Ritz crackers into a bowl and smash them into tiny crumbs. Alternately, put them in a Ziploc bag, smash them into tiny crumbs and then put them into the bowl, whichever works better for your purposes. Then melt a stick of butter in the micro, and pour it into the Ritz crackers, throw some parsley in there, some garlic powder if you want it, and mush it all together into a stuffing. I tend to use plastic gloves for this because it's just easier than trying to do it with a spoon and less gross than doing it with your bare hands. You want the stuffing to be moist but not soaked.

If you wanna get fancy, you can put some crab meat in there. I never do, but people like it.

Then you're gonna butterfly your shrimp. If you don't know how to do that (it's just cutting the back of the shrimp and then flattening it), there are YouTube videos. Put about a spoonful of stuffing on each shrimp, mold it, and throw it in the oven at 350 for like, 15 minutes. Serve with lemon juice or lemon wedges and ramekins of melted butter.

In my family, our preferred custom is what they call "Baked Stuffed Shrimp, mashed in the middle," which is one of the ways they serve it at Twin Oaks in Cranston, Rhode Island. All that means is that it is served with mashed potatoes in the middle, like so:

Yes, my sister takes a picture of this every time we get it. This one is from 2012.Photo: Gia Pennacchia

The stuffing, really, is pretty all-purpose. You can put it on any fish and it will be delicious. If you're feeling fancy, you can also use this same stuffing for baked stuffed lobster, although I am not going to tell you how to make lobster. If you add crab meat and Italian sausage and onions and celery and whatever other seasonings you want, you can put it in some mushroom caps and have some extremely delicious stuffed mushrooms also. That's actually what I make for most potlucks and they are always a hit. Ooh! And they count for another fish.

That's all I got for today, this is now your open thread! Enjoy!

(Another version of this article was published December 08, 2019)

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Robyn Pennacchia

Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse


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