I had forgotten about this dish, which makes you wonder what goes on in my head that I could forget something this incredible. This is a rich, relatively easy and supremely delicious dish. It’s the stuff of memories. It is wonderful anytime, but by nature, it is a perfect dish to serve to the special people in your life. When we lived in Brazil, I ate Camarão de Catupiry, which is what this is based on. In Brazil, they do things with shrimp and cheese, which you don’t see here too frequently. It is so delicious it should be illegal, or at least immoral! They use requeijão cremoso, which is Brazil’s version of cream cheese, except that it isn’t really cream cheese, as we know it. Let me try to explain—you’ll probably see requeijão cremoso referred to by its brand name, Catupiry™ (pronounced as cot-too-peer-ē’). You know, like Kleenex™ and Jell-O™. I’ve seen recipes on-line to “make” Catupiry™, but those recipes are really just a really thick béchamel-type cheese sauce, but it’s not the real deal. Don’t get me wrong, it is still delicious. Truth be told, the sauce here is a cheese sauce. Catupiry™ is reasonably difficult to find here in the US, but you can purchase it on-line here or in a well-stocked Latin American or a Brazilian market, usually in the refrigerated section.
This goes together relatively quickly. It’s a wonderful company dish, but it can be a very special mid-week dinner, too. The very first thing I do is to clean the shrimp. If you aren’t going to be serving immediately, refrigerate the shrimp until you’re ready to use them. Make broth with the shells. I place the shells in a pan with water, a few whole cloves and allspice berries, then simmer for about 20 minutes, so I end up with a really flavorful broth. I strain out the shells and pour the broth into a container. I’ll use part of the broth and freeze the rest for later.
Next, place the shrimp in a broiler-proof pan, with some melted butter. This will keep the shrimp from sticking to the pan. Just set the pan aside while you make the sauce. Now for the sauce; I use fontina and parmesan, but use good parmesan. First, you’re going to sauté the shallot in butter in a heavy pan. Deglaze the pan with white wine. In a bowl, whisk together the cornstarch (or add the rice flour directly to the pan—to make a roux), the cream, the milk and the broth until it’s well-mixed. Pour it into the shallot mixture and whisk like crazy. It will probably start to boil pretty quickly. Lower the heat so the mixture just simmers. Now, stir in the garlic. When you add the garlic at this point, you get a nice garlic kick in the finished product. If you want a less pronounced garlic flavor, add the garlic with the shallot. Let the mixture simmer just until thickened; it will take a couple of minutes. The sauce will be more on the thin side. At this point, turn the broiler on HIGH. Remove the saucepan from the heat. Add the cheeses; stir the mixture and let stand for a couple of minutes. Whisk it, but don’t worry if the cheese doesn’t melt completely. Do not boil (the cheese can get stringy if over-heated). Taste and adjust the seasoning. Slide the pan with the shrimp under the broiler. Broil for 2-3 minutes. Turn the shrimp and spoon the cheese sauce over the shrimp. Pop the pan back under the broiler for another 2 minutes or until the shrimp is just cooked through and the cheese is nicely browned. I serve this immediately. We like it over white rice, but pasta or mashed potatoes are delicious options, too. I usually put a couple of lemon wedges on the side and sprinkle with some chopped cilantro. That’s it! I told you it was pretty simple. For a vegetable, I like corn, peas (I added them to the rice this time) or quickly sautéed zucchini. But, whatever you do, keep the vegetable simple.
Broiled Garlic Shrimp in Rich & Creamy Cheese Sauce
- 3 tablespoons finely minced shallot
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 2-3 teaspoons cornstarch (or rice flour)
- 3/4 cup whole milk
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 cup shrimp broth (made from the shrimp shells)
- 2-3 cloves garlic, put through a press
- 2 ounces shredded fontina cheese
- 4-6 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan-Reggiano
- 1 tablespoon extremely finely minced cilantro (optional)
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 1/2 pounds extra-large shrimp, shelled, deveined and tail removed
- Additional Parmesan-Reggiano to sprinkle over the sauce
- Cooked white rice, for service
- Lemon wedges, for service
In a saucepan, sauté the shallot in the butter, over medium heat. Deglaze with the wine. Whisk together the cornstarch, the cream and the milk (or broth). Add to the shallot mixture. Bring to a simmer; add the garlic. Cook until thickened about 2 minutes.
Remove from the heat; add the cheeses and whisk until just melted. Return to the burner if necessary, but do not boil (the cheese can get stringy if over-heated). You may stir in the cilantro here or sprinkle it over the finished dish, just before serving. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
Place the shrimp in a broiler-proof pan; broil for 2-3 minutes. Turn the shrimp and nap with the cheese sauce; grate fresh parmesan over the sauce. Return to the broiler for another 2 minutes or until the shrimp is just cooked through. Serve immediately, over rice or mashed potatoes, with lemon wedges, if desired.
NOTE: Sometimes I thinly slice 2-3 mushrooms; sauté the mushrooms with the shallots and continue with recipe as written.
Broiled Garlic Shrimp in Rich & Creamy Cheese Sauce Recipe©Marcia Lahens 2017. All rights reserved.
I served this with a salad of tomatoes, peaches, torn fresh basil leaves and a drizzle of peach balsamic vinegar and good olive oil. The fruit was a nice foil for the richness of the cheese sauce. I tossed peas into the basmati rice, so there was our veggie. Tomorrow it may become fried rice!