Pesto Shrimp Parmesan

I don’t have a picture of this one. It was so yummilicious, I wanted to dig in right away instead of going to get the camera. A couple weeks ago, we ate at a well-known seafood restaurant that was featuring an all-you-can-eat shrimp special. Diners can choose from 5 or 6 different variations of shrimp (cue Forrest Gump’s shrimp routine) and they keep bringing them as long as you keep putting them away.
In the words of the infamous Steve Rogers, “I can do this allll day!”

Well, not quite. I gave up after 4 helpings. I had shrimp scampi, terriyaki shrimp and their newest offering – Parmesan encrusted shrimp. Oh my heavens was that good! Pretty much it was scampi topped with Parmesan and baked to crisp the cheese topping. Garlicky, swimming in butter, cheesy … Heaven!

I’ve been hankering for it ever since. So today I was at the store and decided to get some shrimp and try my hand at it. I looked around on the web for copy cat recipes, but none really quite seemed right. But I got the basic gist of it. I then made my own variation on the theme … pesto!

So here goes … (I don’t write recipes well. It’s like I cook – a little of this, a little of that)

  • Shrimp – I used peeled, deveined, de-tailed 18-20 count raw shrimp that came frozen in a bag. About a quarter pound per person, and there’s two of us.
  • 4 tablespoons Butter. The real stuff. Not the chemical laden, artery clogging fake butter crap.
  • Generous splash of olive oil – yes, EVOO
  • Garlic. Lots. A clove or two, minced.
  • Splash of lemon juice
  • 3 or 4 tablespoons of pesto sauce. Make your own or get it from a jar. Read the label, make sure it’s just olive oil, basil, Parmesan and pine nuts. Nevermind, make your own.
  • Generous amount of Parmesan cheese. The real stuff, not that powedered junk in the green can.
  • Heavy cream – about a 1/4 cup or so

Preheat oven to 375. Melt butter in skillet over medium heat, add a couple tablespoons of olive oil. You want the shrimp to swim. Add shrimp and garlic and lemon juice and pesto. Cook until shrimp just turns pink. Leaving the oil, butter and most of the garlic in the skillet on low, with a slotted spoon, remove shrimp to a baking dish large enough so the shrimp can lie flat in a single layer. I used a cookie, lined with foil. Cover shrimp with a good amount of Parmesan. Place in oven and bake for about 15-20 minutes, or until cheese is starting to get crispy and brown around the edges. In the skillet, turn heat back up to medium, add cream and bring to a simmer. Stir frequently. By the time the shrimp is done in the oven, the sauce should reduce and thicken a little.

As we are low carb diners, we do not eat pasta (or any grains). This time I used shiritaki noodles in place of pasta. Other options would be to julienne some zucchini, or put it through the spiral slicer. Spaghetti squash is also a good option. Or steamed or sauteed vegetables. Whatever you choose, when the shrimp is done in the oven, spoon on top trying not to knock the cheese off. Spoon sauce over top all and dig in.

I’ll figure up a carb count later but eyeballing the ingredient list, I’d say it’s darn low. A low carbers don’t count calories. Delicious taste is all that counts, right?