Saturday, September 17, 2011

Popcorn Shrimp

I really need a classier ramekin

You may or may not know this about me, but I waited tables throughout high school and college.  Now don't get me started on all that, I could go on for hours about all my experiences over the years.  I don't know what it is about eating in a restaurant, but it flips a serious jerk switch for some people.  Jerk switch, that's a medical term, I think.  I read somewhere once that if you're out to eat, and you want to know how your date will treat you in a couple years...look at how they treat their server.  Don't worry, Jim is really nice to servers.

Not that it was all bad.  I made very good money, I was very good at it, and I learned a lot of skills that I use on a day to day basis (many of them involving jerk-wrangling as it were).  I even miss it occasionally.  Very, very occasionally.

You really take for granted, as a 16-23 year old server, that you won't always have a job that requires you to walk (or run in some cases) miles and miles each and every day.  

You wouldn't believe how many calories that burns.  I look back now on all the junk I ate without a second thought and it's almost too much to bear.  I once split a "skyscraper malt" (which is about as big as you could possibly imagine) with three other teenage girls.  Insane.  I ate goldfish crackers like....well, they might as well have been in a feed bag strapped to my face.  Yes, like a horse.I would go to Sonic and order a grilled cheese, tater tots, and a root beer float.  It's just surreal to me now.  I guess a lot of people have that experience, really high metabolism as a kid that just kind of...drops once you start getting older.

Well, when I look back at that time, one of the things I miss most is the delicious breaded things I ate.  Fish and  chips, fried chicken, and one of my personal favorites...popcorn shrimp.

Now you can imagine my joy at discovering this wonderful recipe that  finds a way to make breaded shrimp healthy.  I don't know what kind of voodoo makes this recipe possible, but I believe it involves Panko crumbs, as do so many other somehow-miraculously-low-fat recipes.  

Jim requested this become a regular in our dinner rotation.  =)

Popcorn Shrimp
(adapted from skinny taste)

16 oz jumbo shrimp, peeled, deveined, de-tailed
salt and pepper to taste
1 egg
6 Tbsp Italian bread crumbs
2 Tbsp Panko
2 Tbsp grated parmesan
dash red pepper flakes

Preheat oven to 450, rinse and dry the shrimp and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Beat the egg in one small bowl.  In another, mix together breadcrumbs, panko, cheese, and red pepper flakes.  

Dip each shrimp in egg, then in breadcrumbs, coating thoroughly, and set on a greased cookie sheet.

Bake in center rack for 5 minutes.  Turn, and bake an additional two minutes.  Serve immediately with a squeeze of lemon and cocktail sauce.

Now I've only tried this with shrimp, but I'm pretty sure it would work with chicken nuggets, or perhaps some alligator, if you happen to have that crawling around nearby.  Fried alligator is amazing, by the way, as I've discussed elsewhere.

It was actually cool today.  It was heaven.  I'm wearing sweatpants right now.  Don't think I've forgotten about the pumpkin promise I made yesterday.  I won't get to it quite yet, but soon, friends, very soon.

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