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Simple, Tasty Takes on Entertaining with Seafood

10/17/2013, 7:10 p.m.
Hot gulf shrimp dip

(Family Features) Nothing pairs better with cool, crisp weather than warm, home-cooked comfort food. Whether you’re searching for a dish for a tailgating get-together, a dinner party or just a relaxing night at home, look no further than the decadence of perfectly-prepared shrimp.

Adaptability meets deliciousness

Due to its versatility, shrimp is a top protein choice among many chefs. Shrimp can be served at any time of the day, from shrimp and grits at breakfast to shrimp salads at lunch, or simple boiled shrimp as a delectably light hors d’oeuvre. It can also be an elegant addition to Italian dishes, Mexican recipes and delicatessen favorites, just to name a few.

Wild-caught Gulf of Mexico shrimp, in particular, has an exceptionally rich flavor profile due to the warm, nutrient-dense water in which it was caught. Nothing packs a mouthful of savory flavor like fresh, Gulf shrimp.

All the flavor, none of the fat

An important part of a healthful diet, shrimp contains high-quality protein and a variety of essential nutrients, such as vitamins B-6 and B-12. Additionally, it is among the few natural sources of vitamin D. While low in saturated fat, shrimp offers healthy omega-3 fatty acids that have been shown to help reduce the risk of heart disease.

Preparing the perfect shrimp

For many home chefs, the idea of preparing seafood can be an intimidating process. Because they cook very quickly, the biggest mistake many people make while preparing shrimp is overcooking. But, with a little know-how, preparing a delightful shrimp dish is quite simple.

Here’s a fool-proof plan for preparing shrimp that will please the palate of everyone at the table:

Bring a large saucepan filled with lightly-salted water to a boil.

Add the shrimp to the boiling water.

Cook for one to three minutes or until the shrimp are pink and opaque.

Drain and rinse shrimp in a colander under cold running water to stop the cooking process.

Warm up with flavorful dip

Spice up those chilly days ahead with a steaming platter of Hot Gulf Shrimp Dip. Served with warm pita bread or crispy tortilla chips, this easy, cheesy and delightful appetizer presents perfectly, making it wonderful for tailgating and holiday parties. For more great Gulf shrimp recipe ideas, visit www.eatgulfseafood.com.

Hot Gulf Shrimp Dip

Recipe provided by the Gulf Seafood Marketing Coalition

1 pound Gulf of Mexico shrimp, cooked, peeled, deveined, chopped

1/2 cup chopped yellow onion

1/2 chopped green onion

1 clove minced garlic

3 tablespoons mayonnaise

1 teaspoon vegetable oil

1 teaspoon Creole seasoning

1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup shredded cheese (cheddar, mozzarella or Monterey Jack)

Toasted pitas or sliced fresh bread

Combine all ingredients in an 8- by 8-inch baking dish, reserving 1/4 of cheese. Mix well. Sprinkle remaining cheese on top of mixture.

Bake at 350°F for 25 to 30 minutes. Dip with toasted pitas or sliced fresh bread.