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Fried Cornmeal Shrimp with Butternut Squash Risotto

Fried Cornmeal Shrimp with Butternut Squash Risotto

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  • 1 1 3/4- to 2-pound butternut squash
  • 24 uncooked large shrimp (about 1 1/4 pounds), peeled, deveined
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 3 large garlic cloves, peeled, smashed, plus 2 large garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 5 cups low-salt chicken broth
  • 4 teaspoons finely chopped fresh thyme, divided
  • 1 1/2 cups arborio rice or medium-grain white rice
  • Vegetable oil (for frying)
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Recipe Preparation

  • Preheat oven to 400°F. Pierce squash several times. Place on baking sheet; roast until tender, about 1 hour. Cool. Cut squash in half; discard seeds. Scoop flesh into processor. Puree until smooth. Measure 1 1/2 cups puree (reserve remaining puree for another use). DO AHEAD Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover; chill.

  • Place shrimp, 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, and 3 smashed garlic cloves in large resealable plastic bag; turn to coat. Chill 2 to 3 hours, turning bag occasionally.

  • Stir cornmeal, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in medium bowl. Add shrimp; toss. Arrange in single layer on large plate.

  • Preheat oven to 200°F. Bring broth to simmer in heavy small saucepan; reduce heat to low and keep hot. Heat remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil in heavy large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook until beginning to brown, stirring often, about 5 minutes. Add chopped garlic and 2 teaspoons thyme; stir 1 minute. Add rice and stir 1 minute. Add wine; stir until almost absorbed, about 2 minutes. Reduce heat to medium. Add 1 cup hot broth and cook until almost all liquid is absorbed, stirring often. Continue adding hot broth 1 cup at a time and stirring frequently until rice is almost tender, about 15 minutes.

  • Meanwhile, add enough vegetable oil to heavy large skillet to reach depth of 1/4 inch. Heat oil over high heat. Working in 2 batches, fry shrimp until golden brown and cooked through, about 1 1/2 minutes per side. Transfer to paper-towel-lined baking sheet and place in oven to keep warm.

  • Rewarm reserved 1 1/2 cups squash puree in microwave. Add warm puree to risotto and stir until rice is tender but still firm, about 2 minutes. Stir in Parmesan cheese and remaining 2 teaspoons thyme. Season with salt and pepper.

  • Divide risotto among bowls. Top with shrimp and serve.

Reviews Section

Mike’s Cornmeal Fried Shrimp

My husband wrote this tasty shrimp recipe. While I hate having a kitchen smell like fried food, Mike's Cornmeal Fried Shrimp is crispy and flavorful. Even I, a self-proclaimed shrimp hater, liked it.

As you know, I am not a fan of seafood. Over the past year, I've been trying fish more often. I am finding that I like mild, white, flaky fish if it is seasoned to my taste. Mike made shrimp last week for himself for dinner. I've had cocktail shrimp in the past and I hated it. I don't know why I decided to try Mike's shrimp dish. Too my surprise, I liked it! The fried cornmeal batter was flavorful enough to somewhat mask the shrimpy taste.

While giving up meat for Lent has been hard, it has been exciting too as I keep expanding my pallet. If you would have told me a month ago that I would actually enjoy mushrooms and shrimp, I would have laughed in your face.

What are your favorite shrimp recipes that you'd recommend I try?

Mike’s Cornmeal Fried Shrimp
䞈 pre-cooked shrimp
·½ cup cornmeal
ܧ TBS onion powder
ܧ TBS garlic powder
·½ tsp cayenne pepper
ܧ tsp each - salt and pepper
ܧ egg

In a shallow bowl, combine dry ingredients. In a separate shallow bowl, beat the egg. Toss shrimp in the cornmeal mixture and then place in the egg mixture to coat. Then toss the shrimp back in the cornmeal mixture to coat evenly.

Fill the bottom of a large skillet with EVOO, about 3 TBS. Heat the oil, then add the prepared shrimp. Cook the shrimp for 1-2 minutes on each side until batter is brown. Serve immediately.

Recipe Summary

  • 2 cups cubed butternut squash
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • ½ onion, minced
  • 1 cup Arborio rice
  • ⅓ cup dry white wine
  • 5 cups hot chicken stock
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • salt and ground black pepper to taste

Place squash cubes into a steamer basket in a saucepan. Add water, cover, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Allow to steam until the squash is tender (10 to 15 minutes), then drain, and mash in a bowl with a fork.

Melt butter in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion cook and stir for 2 minutes until the onion begins to soften, then stir in the rice. Continue cooking and stirring until the rice is glossy from the butter, and the onion begins to brown on the edges, about 5 minutes more.

Pour in the white wine cook, stirring constantly, until it has evaporated. Stir in the mashed squash and 1/3 of the hot chicken stock reduce heat to medium. Cook and stir until the chicken stock has been absorbed by the rice, 5 to 7 minutes. Add half of the remaining chicken stock, and continue stirring until it has been absorbed. Finally, pour in the remaining stock, and continue stirring until the risotto is creamy. Finish by stirring in the Parmesan cheese, and seasoning to taste with salt and pepper.

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                Risotto with Roasted Butternut Squash

                Risotto is made with Arborio rice, a short grain Italian rice, that is known for its silky, creamy goodness. The slow cooking method used to prepare it brings out the starch with creates the creaminess. I’m sure you will agree that it is well worth the extra effort. It can be served as a main dish or a side dish. This recipe is made with butternut squash, but you can use almost any vegetables you prefer, and sausage or pancetta are also delicious options.

                Ingredients for butternut squash:

                20 – oz. butternut squash cubed
                Black pepper
                Olive oil
                1/2 – tsp. fresh thyme
                1/4 – tsp. fresh ground nutmeg

                You can buy pre-cubed butternut squash or if you buy a whole one, peel it, remove the seeds, and make 1 inch cubes. Place the cubes in a large bowl, drizzle with olive oil, salt, black pepper, thyme, and nutmeg. Mix well. Cover a large cookie sheet with parchment paper, and spread the butternut squash over it. Bake at 375° for 30 minutes or until tender. Set aside until the risotto is cooked.

                Ingredients for the Risotto:

                1 – cup Arborio rice
                32 – oz. chicken stock (preferably organic)
                1 – shallot
                1 – clove garlic
                1/2 – cup dry white wine
                1/2 – cup parmigiano reggiano
                Black pepper

                Melt butter in medium sized sauce pan. Dice the shallot and garlic then add to the pan. Sprinkle with a little salt and black pepper. Sauté on medium heat until translucent, about 4-5 minutes. In the meantime, heat the chicken broth in a separate sauce pan.

                Add the rice to the onion and garlic and stir, making sure to coat all the rice with the butter. Cook about 1-2 minutes, then deglaze the pan with the wine. Stir and cook until reduced by half.

                Start adding the warm chicken broth one ladle at a time. Stir constantly on a medium-low flame, cook the rice until almost all the liquid is absorbed then add another ladle of chicken broth.

                Continue this process until all or most of the broth is gone. It is important to add the broth a little at a time so that the rice will release its starch to create a creamy sauce. It may not take all 32 oz. of the broth. Taste the rice after about 15 minutes to test and continue to add broth as needed until the rice becomes smooth, creamy and al dente (it should be a little firm to the bite).

                Once the rice is al dente, add a pat of butter and the parmigiano reggiano and mix well. Add the roasted butternut squash and fold in. Serve immediately.

                Crispy Fried Shrimp

                Fried shrimp is one of my favorite fun foods. As a young girl I looked forward to those special occasions when we went out for dinner so that I could order the fried shrimp. I never got tired of eating it. With just a little effort it is possible to have fried shrimp at home that are better than any I have eaten in a restaurant.

                In this recipe I use panko breadcrumbs, which make the shrimp extra crispy. I use jumbo shrimp, but you can use smaller ones if you like, but I would not go smaller than the “large” shrimp. Typically I serve it with cocktail sauce and tartar sauce. There are simple recipes included below.

                1 – lb. jumbo shrimp (You can buy them de-veined with the tails on. This will save you some work.)
                Salt to taste
                Black pepper to taste
                1 – cup all purpose flour
                2 – eggs
                1/4 – cup milk

                Breadcrumb Ingredients:

                2 1/2 – cups of Panko bread crumbs
                1 1/4 – tsp. oregano
                2 – tbls. fresh parsley chopped
                1/2 – tsp. salt
                1/2 – tsp. black pepper
                1 1/4 – tsp. garlic powder
                1 1/4 – tsp. Adobo Seasoning
                1/3 – tsp. Cayenne pepper
                1/4 – cup pecorino romano cheese
                1/2 – tsp. fresh thyme (optional)

                Mix all of the above ingredients in a large bowl.

                Prepare the breadcrumbs and set aside. Rinse the shrimp and pat dry with paper towel. With a sharp knife, butterfly the shrimp. Make a slit in the middle of the end of each shrimp, about half way through the length of the shrimp. There are two reasons for doing this one, they look nicer butterflied, and two, it flattens them out so that they can be fried in less oil.

                Place the butterflied shrimp on a plate and sprinkle a little salt and black pepper on both sides.

                Now, set up for the breading process. Take two large plates — on one place the flour, on the other put 1/2 of the breadcrumbs. In a bowl, whisk 2 eggs and 1/4 cup milk.

                Dredge the shrimp first into the flour, then the egg mixture, and finally into the breadcrumbs. Cover completely and press down on each side to help the crumbs to adhere to the shrimp. If you have time, it is helpful to let the breaded shrimp rest in the refrigerator for about 20 minutes. This helps the breading to adhere.

                Pour enough canola oil into the bottom of a large skillet to about a 1/8″ depth. Heat on a medium-high flame. Do not add shrimp until the oil is hot. You know the oil is ready when you drop a few bread crumbs in and they sizzle.

                Do not over crowd the pan. Shrimp cook very quickly. Cook them about 1 1/2 minutes on each side or until golden brown. If they are browning too quickly, lower the flame a little. If you are using smaller shrimp, the cook time will be less.

                1 lb. of shrimp will serve 3-4 people.
                Serve immediately.

                Cocktail Sauce:
                1/2 – cup Heinz chili sauce
                1/2 – cup ketchup
                1 – tsp. hot sauce (more if you like)
                2 – tbls. horseradish (less is you like)
                1 – tbls. fresh lemon juice

                Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl. Keep chilled until ready to use.

                Tartar Sauce:
                1/2 – cup mayonnaise
                2 – tbls. sweet relish
                1/2 – tsp. hot sauce
                1 – tbls. fresh lemon juice
                Pinch of black pepper

                Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl. Keep chilled until ready to use.

                Jokes and Snacks

                July has been a pretty busy month. I’ve been in six different states – mostly at all different times – and spent a good week and a half out of the office resting up for what will likely be a whirlwind fall. I took some time away from el blog too but have come back refreshed and ready to cook, eat and post.

                A few weeks back I had a hankering for some fried green tomatoes, and decided that if I could find them, I would make them. That same afternoon, I suppose my Southern was showing and I also cranked out some homemade biscuits, pimiento cheese and some fresh corn to go along with everything.

                July is prime tomato time – red, yellow, purple and of course, green – and I’m already panicking that I’m not going to ingest enough maters and peaches to satisfy myself for the long winter. I still buy tomatoes year round, but we all know they don’t taste like anything in January.

                I hadn’t made fried green tomatoes before, so I did some looking around and found a handful of different recipes to get my juices flowing. Some called for buttermilk and flour, some suggested using panko. I decided that real fried green tomatoes should have a crispy golden cornmeal crust and so that’s what I decided to do via your good friend the three-step breading process.

                This recipe ain’t hard and it happens fast, so get your business in order:

                • 3 green tomatoes
                • 1 cup flour
                • 2 eggs, beaten
                • 1 cup cornmeal
                • Salt and pepper
                • Canola oil for frying

                Slice your tomatoes rather thick – somewhere between 1/3″ and 1/2″ without really worrying about being precise at all. I let the pug eat the ends and kept the good slices.

                Get out three shallow dishes (I use pie plates or something along those lines) and put the flour, beaten eggs and cornmeal in their own special container. Season each with salt and pepper. Oh, and set out a brown paper bag or paper towels on a cooling rack so you can de-grease your tomatoes after you fry them.

                Grab your cast iron skillet or other heavy-bottomed pan and add the oil to about 1/4″. Heat over medium. Take your tomatoes (why don’t you season those too?) and dredge in flour, then egg, then cornmeal and drop them straight into the hot oil.

                Cook the tomatoes on each side until brown. If memory serves me, I think that it took about 3-4 minutes per side. The second batch ended up being darker because I didn’t change my oil and it had lots of cornmeal bits in it. No big deal.

                Pull the tomatoes out and drain them on the paper bag.

                Now all that’s left to do is to eat the damn things. The husband decided to whip up some remoulade, the official sauce of his family. I just poured some blue cheese dressing on mine. But they’re great without anything on top. Or on a fried green tomato BLT.

                Make these while you can. The birds and squirrels eat all my tomatoes before they ripen anyway. I suppose the only way I’m going to eat anything from my garden is to eat these green.

                Fried Cornmeal Shrimp with Butternut Squash Risotto - Recipes

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                Todd Leonard CEC Founders Club Member

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                <b>Thrive Life Executive Chef</b><br />
                Certified Executive Chef Todd Leonard brings over 15 years of experience as a professional chef to the (dinner) table at Thrive Life as he works tirelessly to develop ways to use THRIVE foods in easy, healthy, and delicious everyday meals. Chef Todd is the youngest chef in Utah to earn the ACF-accredited status of Certified Executive Chef, and has also won the ACF Chef of the Year award twice for the state of Utah and once for the Western Region. Chef Todd is known for his passion for cooking, larger than life personality, and dedication to providing the Thrive Life community with the very best foods and recipes possible.

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