Welcome to this week's edition of The Cheater's Beat. If you have ever made Panko Breaded Shrimp from scratch, you, too, would embrace cheating. I've made this dish from scratch and it made me want to pull the hair from my head and hurl monkeys from my butt.
First, you need a surgeon's hands to butterfly the shrimp. Then you need a flour dip, an egg bath and a roll in the Panko bread crumbs. Then you let them air-dry on a cooling rack before you fry them, but only fry a few at a time in order to maintain a deep-frying oil temperature of 350º throughout the process. By the time you are done, your children will have celebrated 2 birthdays each and your kitchen will look like you were cooking during the last days of Pompeii.
Costco has allowed me to enjoy this dish with absolutely none of the hassle. Head over to the freezer section and you will find Kirkland Panko Breaded Shrimp. A 2.5 pound box will set you back $19.99, or roughly $7.99 per pound. There are 40-50 shrimp in the box, enough to make 8-10 entree servings...or a bucketload of appetizers for a large crowd. If there are just 2 of you at home, take out 10 shrimp and put the rest back in the freezer for future meals. And the beauty is, you just BAKE them in your oven. As in no prep work. Zip. Zero. Nada.
And these shrimp are absolutely delicious. A nice light, Japanese Panko crust on the outside and really succulent, tender shrimp on the inside. The box recommends that you cook them for just 14 minutes at 425º, flipping them at the 6 minute mark. I like my shrimp really crisp, so I cook them at the same temp for 18 minutes, flipping them at the 9 minute mark and then I let them rest on paper towels for 2 minutes before I serve them. That last step reduces the oil and really lets the Panko crumbs crisp up.
To cheat, or not to cheat, that is the question. I'll opt for the former, which also allows me to sit and have a nice glass of wine while dinner cooks.
Wine pairing: Riesling, a fruity Pinot Grigio or New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc