I don’t slow down all that often. Because well…rest is like an activity, and I tend to view all activities in the same, “hey we’ll fit it all in at some point!” way. It’s not that I don’t get tired. It’s not even that I find masochism’s shoulder particularly comfortable to lean on.
It’s just that I’m kind of over-the-top.
This week was a lesson in slowing down. I flew back to Seattle from a month’s visit with my family in Boston, resumed working like a respectable individual, fell down a massive hill and split my knee in three very unfortunate pieces, clogged not only my kitchen sink, but the bathroom one too, and then, just then, found out my car battery had died and gone to heaven.
I don’t generally like to say things happen for a reason.
But this time is different. My knee is sore so I’m less inclined to race around. My car is kaput. My sinks hate me. I’m limited in mobility and, well, bakeability too. A clogged drain may be the only time when buttercream isn’t the solution.
I stayed home.
I read a full book on my kindle. I watched so much reality television that I now have a hole in my brain the size of the Jersey shore. I played games with Daniel — and not just mind ones. I…what’s that word for the thing that people do to their homes just before guests come over? Right. Cleaned. I sat with my thoughts. And my thoughts sat with chocolate.
And while I don’t think I necessarily buzzed about my apartment any slower than I might have had I not been immobilized by hurt knees and a dead car battery and clogged sinks, I feel like I took a different look at my life. I changed the routine, and therein found a few of the most fun and reflective days I’ve had in some time. Maybe slowing down meant spending time with myself, just doing seemingly normal, verging on mundane things. Nonetheless, they were wonderful.
I felt at home in more ways than one.
And truth? I still cooked despite the drain derailing me. I took my sweet sweet time making a dish that felt and tasted special. A meal to be savored slowly and peacefully with the man I love, in the apartment I cleaned, in the city that inspires me, on the coast that has claimed me for the next couple years.
But right, you’re here for a recipe! Lighter baked stuffed shrimp.
I originally tasted these shrimp two months ago, when I went to a cooking demonstration hosted by Silvana Nardone, the author of the wonderful cookbook, Cooking with Isaiah, and the former editor-in-chief of Rachael Ray Magazine. They were one of the three dishes she served, and I’ve not been able to forget about them since. That’s saying something. Since I work in food, write about food, cook like my life depends upon it, I come across so many recipes that I want to try my hand at. These surpassed all of those recipes and landed at the top of my must make list…and I’m so glad they did.
Quite honestly, these shrimp are the most wildly flavorful bites I’ve had in a long, long time. They’re petite, but only in size; the flavor is absolutely bursting from lemon, the brightness of parsley, savory notes of garlic and tender chunks of shrimp, and a lovely bready heft from seasoned panko.
Make a batch and serve them on thinly sliced lemon rounds for a pretty presentation. I promise they’ll be a hit :)
Lighter Baked Stuffed Shrimp
For the filling:
- 1 pound large shrimp peeled, deveined and finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- ¼ cup sour cream
- 1 cup Italian seasoned panko bread crumbs
- ¼ cup fresh parsley finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice 1 lemon
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric
- ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- 16 jumbo shrimp peeled, deveined, and butterflied (about 1 pound)
- Lemon wedges for serving
- Preheat your oven to 425°F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Make the filling: In a large bowl, combine the shrimp, garlic, sour cream, panko, parsley, lemon juice, turmeric, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper. Use your hands to mix well.
- Prepare the jumbo shrimp for filling: Butterfly them by running a sharp knife along their curved backs (where the vein runs). Do not cut all the way through -- just far enough so that you can spread the bottom of the shrimp out into a wide circle. You want the tail end to stick up and arc over. The cut side should be split and facing down on your cutting board, almost creating a little lap for the filling.
- Place these butterflied shrimp on your prepared baking sheet. Mound tablespoons of filling onto the laps of each of the jumbo shrimp, pressing gently so that the mixture stays in one clump when you take your hand away. Repeat with remaining shrimp and filling.
- Spray all prepared shrimp with cooking spray and bake until the shrimp are bright pink and the filling is cooked through, about 15 minutes.
- Serve the shrimp with lemon wedges and an additional sprinkling of fresh parsley.