Butterflied shrimp stuffed with a sliver of Medjool date, wrapped with a slice of pancetta then fried. A sprinkle of Gorgonzola cheese, some flakes of chive and a drizzle of honey and you’ve got an easy and impressive shrimp appetizer.
We’re big on shrimp around this house, and being landlocked, good quality shrimp can be hard to come by. That’s why I didn’t hesitate to say yes when The Wild American Shrimp Industry asked if I wanted to partner with them.
Every Shrimp has a tail, but wild-caught American Shrimp have a story rich with flavor, history and adventure. It’s about hard-working families who date back to when shrimp were harvested on wooden sailing vessels and peeled by hand. It’s a story of American jobs and livelihoods and an industry’s resilience against tough times.
It’s also a story of all-natural, healthy food that travels directly from warm nutrient-rich waters of the Gulf of Mexico and the South Atlantic to your table, made possible by new processing technology that suspends freshness until cooked.
I couldn’t believe my eyes when a package arrived in a styrofoam container with a gift of Wild American Caught Shrimp. On the doorstep just two days before Christmas, Santa had most certainly arrived.
The first time I knowingly had shrimp from the Gulf of Mexico was on our trip to New Orleans. I couldn’t get over how superior in flavor and texture they were compared to the frozen ones from Thailand that I buy at the grocery store. I remember being so disappointed that I couldn’t bring that fresh flavor back to Denver.
Thanks to the Wild American Shrimp connection, I’m thrilled to learn from their website a list of local shops where I can purchase American shrimp. Nationally they indicate you’ll find it at Walmart, Sprouts and Whole Foods. There is also lists of regional markets and on-line sources who will ship direct to your door.
With all of the ham and beef that had been purchased for Christmas meals, I decided to wait until New Year’s Eve to create a recipe using this shrimp. This was a perfect and elegant appetizer for our tradition of Osso Buco. Upon first bite, Bob exclaimed “restaurant quality.” It’s a great set of flavors. The sweetness of the shrimp and the date, salty with pancetta, add in the strong piquant flavor of the gorgonzola and the sweet honey and it’s truly a treat.
Pancetta Wrapped Shrimp with Gorgonzola
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 12 medium or jumbo American Wild Caught shrimp
- 12 slices Pancetta
- 6 Medjool dates
- 2 Tablespoons chives chopped
- 3 Tablespoons Gorgonzola cheese crumbled
- 1 Tablespoon honey
- Peel, devein and butterfly the shrimp. Leave the tails on. Remove the pits from the dates and quarter or cut the dates in eights, depending on the size of the shrimp. Stuff a slice of the date inside the shrimp. Cut the pancetta in half length wise and wrap a slice around the body of the shrimp. Heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Sautee the shrimp for about 2 minutes per side, or until the pancetta is crisp and the shrimp are cooked through.
- To serve, place shrimp on a plate, sprinkle with Gorgonzola cheese, chives and a drizzle of honey.
Thanks to the American Shrimp Processors Association for sponsoring my writing! When making the decision to cook with shrimp, be sure to check the sourcing. Shrimp purchased from a retailer should proudly state “wild-caught” or “wild American shrimp.” For a list of retailers, please visit www.americanshrimp.com.