You may recall reading about my recipe box in an earlier story. I received this wonderful gift from my aunt Adrienne years ago, and cherish the heirloom recipes it contains. This dish, Mrs. LaPlant’s Shrimp, is one of the many jewels. On the back of the card Adrienne notes that Bob LaPlant was the first Bealls store manager, and worked for Bealls going back to at least the 1960s. His wife, Mrs. LaPlant, of Greek descent, graciously passed along her delicious version of baked shrimp, and it’s been made by our family for decades.
The original recipe calls for cooked shrimp, but doesn’t instruct on how to cook them. Adrienne’s adaptation was to simmer them in a white wine, lemon and garlic mixture. I like this method as it infuses additional Mediterranean flavor. Floridians are blessed with beautiful, local, wild-caught shrimp, and for best flavor and consistency, opt for small to medium-sized shrimp, as larger shrimp can become tough in this application.
My addition is to sprinkle freshly chopped dill over the dish to serve. Not only does it make for a pretty presentation, but it further enhances the Greek flavors.
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Mrs LaPlant’s Shrimp with Feta Cheese
- 2 medium onions sliced
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 28- oz can crushed or finely chopped tomatoes
- 1 6- oz can tomato paste
- ⅓ cup chopped Italian parsley
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper about ¼ teaspoon
- 6 garlic cloves chopped, divided use
- ½ pound feta cheese crumbled
- 2 pounds wild Florida shrimp peeled and deveined
- ½ cup dry white wine
- ⅓ cup lemon juice
- 1 cup white rice
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill optional
- Warm the olive oil in a large pot. Saute the onions for 8-10 minutes until soft. Stir in the tomato paste and cook, stirring, until it coats the bottom of the pot, but doesn’t burn, just a few minutes. Add the canned tomatoes, parsely, oregano, salt, pepper and garlic. Bring to a simmer then lower heat and cook, partially covered, stirring occasionally, for 50 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
- Toward the end of the cooking time for the sauce, cook the shrimp. Combine the wine, lemon juice and garlic in a saucepan. Bring to a simmer and add the shrimp and a pinch of salt. Cook until shrimp are just cooked, about 2-3 minutes depending on the size of your shrimp. Remove from the heat, and stir into the tomato sauce.
- Begin to cook the rice according to package directions. It should take roughly 20 minutes so plan accordingly. Ten minutes before the shrimp goes into the oven is a good time to start the rice.
- Pour the shrimp and sauce into a 9x13” deep casserole dish. Scatter the feta evenly over the shrimp and place in the oven for 10-15 minutes, until the feta is starting to get slightly browned. Remove from the oven, and scatter the dill over top if using. Serve with the cooked rice.