Thursday, October 20, 2011

Crab Stuffed Shrimp with Sherry Cream Sauce

A few weeks ago I catered a birthday party with a menu that included mini crabcakes.  After I initially offered the selection I started searching for crab cake recipes and panicked. I thought I would put myself out of business with the cost of crab!

Here's the issue. When you are a caterer, you never want to run out of food. The host expected 50 people.  The party took place over the dinner hour so people would be eating heavily, so I figured I'd make at least 4 crab cakes per person.  I wanted to serve a quality crab cake that was more crab than cake, so based on the assumption that each crab cake would weigh 3/4 ounce and I'd be making about 240 of them, I thought I'd need around 11 pounds of crab $16 per pound (dear God). 

I happened to go into my restaurant supply store on a customer appreciation day. One of the featured vendors was offering crab meat for a great price, one day only, so I bought a case - 12 pounds in all. Yea bargain!

However, all of this happened before I decided on a final recipe. It turns out that I had over estimated the size of the cakes slightly and ended up using about 4 1/2 pounds instead of 11!  So, now I have 7 pound of canned crab meat in my refrigerator.  Time to get creative!

So how about some crab recipes, you ask?  Okay - here you go!

Crab Stuffed Shrimp with Sherry Cream Sauce
Serves 4

2 tbsp unsalted butter
2 tbsp finely minced onions
2 tbsp finely minced celery
1/4 cup finely minced red bell peppers
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp Old Bay Seasoning
1/2 tsp Kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 lb lump crab, picked over for shells, etc.
1 egg
2 tsp arrowroot powder or cornstarch
2 tbsp mayonnaise
24 large or jumbo shrimp, peeled except for the tails and butterflied
Sherry Cream Sauce, recipe below
thinly sliced green onions, optional

Preheat oven to 375F degrees.  Spray a baking sheet with canola oil spray.

Melt butter in a medium skillet over medium heat.  Add onions, celery, bell peppers, garlic powder, Old Bay Seasoning, salt and black pepper.  Sweat until onions become translucent, about 5 minutes.  Add crab meat and stir gently to combine.

Whisk egg in a large bowl.  Stir in crab mixture, arrowroot and mayonnaise.

Shape mixture into 20 balls - using about 2 tbsp for each ball. (A small ice cream scooper/or cookie dish-out works well for this.) Press one ball into each shrimp (as pictured above) and arrange on the prepared baking sheet. Bake until shrimp is pink and stuffing is slightly browned, about 10 minutes.

Drizzle with Sherry Cream Sauce and sprinkle with sliced green onions, if desired.  Serve immediately.

Sherry Cream Sauce
Makes approximately 3/4 cup

1 tbsp minced shallots
1/2 dry sherry
1 cup heavy cream
salt to taste

Place minced shallots and dry sherry in a small sauce pan over high heat.  Simmer until sherry is almost completely gone.  Add heavy cream and reduce heat to medium.  Simmer until the cream thickens and reduces by about 1/3.  Be careful not to let it boil over.  Add salt to taste and serve over Crab Stuffed Shrimp.
Next up - Crab Dip! : )