Monday, November 19, 2012

Shrimp Popper Jammers

So is everyone knee-deep in Turkey Day planning? I am, as just last week I was completely blindsided, thinking that there was another entire week before I had to kick it into gear. Imagine my surprise! Suddenly I had to focus on planning the meal, making the tough decisions, the eenie meenie minie moes of what desserts to make, which sides, and how to cook the turkey. Thanksgiving is my favorite day to cook, and I do a big deal meal even if it's only for two. There will be leftovers a-plenty, and turkey reincarnations that have almost become ritual...turkey and dumplings, turkey tamales... Perhaps this year will bring new and interesting (and perhaps disturbing?) turkey twists.

Today however, our focus is on shrimp. The big, bold beautiful colossal jumbo shrimp that jumped in my path while I was working my way through my Thanksgiving grocery list. These bad boys were humongous, and called to me, seducing me with the promise of a crazy fabulous dinner. And so it was.

I liked the idea of shrimp jammers (butterflied shrimp with cheese, fried), and set about (unsuccessfully)  looking for a recipe. I had to wing it. And while we are winging it, may as well embellish! I decided to merge concepts - shrimp jammers and jalapeno poppers. Since I like to kick it up a few notches on the heat scale, I used serrano peppers (sort of like turbo-charged jalapenos). Ladies and gentlemen - these were ridiculously tasty. They take a little patience, but to me, the end justified the means. 


Colossal jumbo shrimp - 12, cleaned and deveined
4 ounces cream cheese
2 jalapeno peppers, thinly sliced and diced (or serranos!)
4 slices of pepperjack cheese
1 cup flour
1 cup bread crumbs (I used regular, but would use panko next time)
2 eggs
Cajun seasoning
Cooking oil (I prefer peanut)

Clean and devein shrimp. Pat dry.
Butterfly each shrimp by running a knife along the underside of the shrimp. Start shallow, being careful not to cut all the way through. Spread the sides, flattening the shrimp. 
Season with Cajun seasoning (or your favorite all-purpose seasoning).

Cut a thick sliver of cream cheese, and place in the center of the butterfly.
Press jalapenos into the cream cheese.

Break off slivers of cheese, place on top of serranos and cream cheese. Press cheese down gently so that it attaches to the cream cheese. Chill the plate of shrimp for 30 minutes.

Carefully dredge shrimp in flour keeping the cheese side up - drag it across flour on a plate, and sprinkle flour on top.

Beat eggs in a bowl. Combine crumbs and 1/2 teaspoon Cajun seasoning in a separate shallow bowl. 
Carefully dip shrimp in egg, keeping cheese side up. Spoon egg over the shrimp to coat, if needed. 
Drag egged shrimp through seasoned crumbs. Sprinkle crumbs on top by hand if needed. 

Gently press crumbs onto shrimp to make sure it's coated. Gently place on a plate.
Heat oil in a small skillet on medium high (I use a medium skillet to ensure that the oil almost covers the shrimp once they are all in the pan). 

Finish coating the remainder of the shrimp. 
Once the oil is heated, gently place all shrimp in the pan cheese side up.

Cook until medium golden brown and crispy.

You will not flip these shrimp - this is why we want to cook them in oil that will just pop over the top enough to cook the cheesy part without melting it completely. 
When they are done, you will see the cheesy goodness just beginning to ooze through the crust.

Gently remove from skillet and drain. 


Thank you for stopping by to take a look at my blog. Please let me know if you have questions or comments. Happy Thanksgiving!

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