Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Creamed Shrimp in Scallop Shells

Did you catch that scene in Star Wars where Luke Skywalker doesn’t know how to fly his space ship between those narrow canyons and O Be One Kenobe tells him to trust the Force and he does and navigates the canyons with his eyes closed and lives another day to do battle with evil in the galaxy? Whew! 

This recipe is something like that. Although its easy to make, you’ll need to apply the full force of your cooking talents and instincts because the measurements below serve just two, and you may want to make more for a special occasion. No need to measure ... If it feels right, do it! It’s nice (but not necessary) to serve this rich main course on shell-shaped dishes. If you have no special dishes, use appetizer-sized plates (see Note). A small serving goes a long way! 

Creamed Shrimp in Scallop Shells:

To Prepare the Mashed Potatoes:

2 baking potatoes 
2 tbsp. milk or light cream
2 tbsp. butter or margarine 
Dash of salt and pepper

This is familiar territory to most of you, Dollinks. If not, see the Index for How to Make Mashed Potatoes. Be sparing with the quantity of milk and butter: You’ll want the prepared potatoes to be a little stiffer and dryer than usual, while still containing enough liquid that they hold together. After you’ve bashed, smashed, and mashed them, pulverize them with an electric beater until no lumps remain. This is cheaper than seeing a psychiatrist and every bit as effective. 

Prepare potatoes for boiling.

Make a stiff mash. Thin with butter and milk. Beat smooth.

To Prepare the Creamed Shrimp:

¼ c. butter or margarine
¼ c. all-purpose flour
¾ c. milk or light cream
1 c. poultry stock
Splash of white wine (optional)
Salt and pepper, to taste
Paprika, sprinkled on as garnish
1-½-to-2 c. fresh, cooked, well-drained and chilled shrimp

In a skillet over medium heat, melt butter until sizzling. Gradually add and whisk in flour. Continuing to whisk, slowly add milk and stock until mixture becomes a smooth white sauce of medium thickness. If desired, add a small amount of wine to thin the sauce slightly. Set sauce aside. Rinse shrimp, blotting dry. Set this aside, too.

Pipe or spoon small mounds of mashed potato close to edge of appetizer-sized plate. Heap shrimp inside ring of mashed potatoes, using ¾ c. to 1 c. shrimp per adult. Pour enough sauce over plate to completely cover shrimp, leaving potatoes uncovered. Lightly sprinkle paprika over all.

With oven rack in highest position, set shrimp-filled dishes under broiler just until bubbly and golden, 3-to-5 min. (see Further Note). Serve at once. Yields 2, depending on size of plates and appetites.

Melt butter, gradually adding flour and liquid until ...

You have a medium white sauce.

Rinse and dry fresh shrimp.

Spoon inside mounded potatoes. Cover shrimp with sauce.

Broil. Potatoes and sauce should be tinged with gold.

Note: While most plates with heat-safe glaze can withstand a short time under the broiler, don’t use your fine china for this recipe. That’s obvious to clever little monkeys like you, but I still needed to say it.

Further Note: Set individual serving dishes on a baking sheet to slide them under and from the broiler. This is faster and safer than handling them one at a time. When I use the broiler, I keep the oven door slightly ajar. Ovens differ. Consult your oven manual.

Tomorrow: More Creamed Shrimp! This time, served in Crêpes. 

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