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Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Outdoor Fun Foods - Baked Potatoes

by Anne Clarke

There are some family favorites in every family that some outdoor events, or any other festive occasion simply can not do without. It is as though the absence of the taste of this dish would make the event itself less than complete. Here is one I would love to share with you. Simple to make and extremely delicious, this is a dish with thick shrimp sauce to pour on top of your baked potatoes.

Probably on the top of my list for favorite family recipes, is my mother’s recipe for a thick shrimp sauce she uses as a topping or filler for baked potatoes. A patio dining family favorite, one of the best things about baked potatoes is their versatility. So many things taste so great with a baked potato. When you’re planning a dinner such as salad, steak and baked potatoes (a personal family tradition) you probably already have a list of things to go with your potatoes.

For example: most people purchase butter, sour cream, cheese, bacon bits, vegetables and more when they are planning to serve baked potatoes. People also love to make twice-baked potatoes with their favorite toppings. This delicious recipe is a favorite not only for topping baked potatoes, but even as a sauce (instead of gravy) for mashed potatoes, and it makes a great topping for twice-baked potatoes. Our family has even altered this shrimp sauce so that it can be used as a pasta sauce as well.

Shrimp Sauce and Baked Potatoes

For this recipe you will need the following items:

2 cans of tiny shrimp (4 ½ oz cans)
2 tablespoons of butter (margarine can be used as a substitute)
2 egg yolks
1/8 cup of nutmeg (freshly ground)
½ cup of heavy whipping cream (you can use up to 1 cup if you are trying this as a pasta sauce, plus extra spices)
½ teaspoon of salt
1 tablespoon of chili sauce
1 tablespoon of parsley
1 teaspoon of ginger

This recipe will make sauce for four baked potatoes. Adjust as necessary for your meal or special occasion.

Here is how you make these Shrimp Sauce Baked Potatoes. First, drain the cans of shrimp, but set the liquid aside – do not discard it. Also, set the shrimp aside momentarily. Combine only ¼ cup of the shrimp juice with the butter or margarine. Once the pan is heated you will slowly stir in the egg yokes and slowly (at the same time) cook the mixture. You should never stop stirring until thickened. Let the heavy whipping cream reduce significantly for the desired effect.

Next remove the sauce pan from the heat. This is when you stir in the spices: nutmeg, ginger, salt, chili sauce, parsley, and pepper (optional) to taste. Stir in the rest of the shrimp and cook for another four to seven minutes over low heat. Then, when the potatoes are baked and / or ready you will slice them in half lengthwise and mush the potato, spoon the sauce over your potatoes and enjoy!

When you make this recipe for twice-baked potatoes, sometimes people like to add shredded cheese across the top and place the potatoes in the cooling oven until the cheese melted. Timing is very important for this recipe, whether once or twice baked potatoes are on the menu. This is because you want your potatoes as well as your sauce to be warm at the same time.

If you are cooking pasta, the shrimp sauce recipe above is also great. However, I usually substitute the chili sauce with a tablespoon of lime juice – I also like to be sure I use fresh ground nutmeg . . . especially with the pasta sauce. Often, I will also drain and dispose of the liquid from the cans of shrimp and make up the difference with extra heavy whipping cream. Nonetheless, the cooking of the sauce is virtually the same. You should reduce and thicken the heavy whipping cream a bit more than you would with the baked potato sauce, and I highly recommend using bowtie pasta. Use about four servings worth of pasta (i.e. four cups or so) if you want to use this recipe for a shrimp pasta sauce.


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