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I decided that our household was long overdue for a good old fashioned surf and turf. Well I guess *kind of*. Our meal was old fashioned in that there was shrimp and there was steak, but I came upon a neat idea in this old 4-H fundraiser cookbook I found in a second hand store.

Heya good lookin.

The problem with vintage recipes is that they’re always bland and more often than not, they’re unapologetically gross as well. The shrimp bake recipe, upon inspection, is not a gross one (create a roux, add some milk, sprinkle some sparse spices in there, pair shrimp with macaroni), but it was . . . lacking. So I did a little magic in terms of additions and here’s what I came up with.

First, we make a roux. While the word is definitely a fancy-pants French one, it’s actually quite simple: melt some butter, pop in a bit o’ flour, whisk until nice and golden and yummy-smelling. For something so very simple, butter and flour smells awfully nice simmering on your stove.

Melty buttery.Roux step two! Flour.
Golden flour.
Don’t mind that scald mark, it was there to begin with. Ugh. My stupid dirty pans strike again!

The original recipe called for milk alone, but since I had buttermilk leftover from making butter, I substituted buttermilk for half of the milk. This added a zingy tang to the flavour, that coupled with a little bit of mustard powder, quite well imitates the cheese flavour in macaroni and cheese, without actually incorporating any cheese. I don’t know that the butter and flour method is exactly healthier, it’s just an interesting coincidence, probably heightened by the fact that basically macaroni + creaminess is always associated in my mind with mac n cheese (or “mackin’ cheese,” if you’re pimp enough).

Buttermilking it up.And now some milk.

And now, one by one, we add the flavourful parts. I won’t make you scroll for the next five minutes; here’s the consolidated view. I trust you all, as adults, to understand how to add one ingredient at a time here. [Editor’s aside: Apologies to the kiddos, here’s an explanation: add these ingredients one at a time. Thereyago!]

The spicy little detailsThis is what those onions were for.
Jalapeno!Corn!
And what is a macaroni casserole without macaroni?Shrimp time!

They are, in order: spices (paprika, mustard, salt), onions & garlic (sauteed lightly in butter first), jalapenos (1/2, diced finely, no seeds), corn (from a can, hey I like it that way best), macaroni (cooked), shrimp (explanation below).

Spice fearers, have no fear! There is very little jalapeno here relative to all else, and this dish is definitely not spicy, it just has this mild and comforting warmth to it. Spice lovers may wish to kick it up the proverbial notch by including the entirety of a jalapeno.

Now if you are fluent in italics, you saw the part about the onion and garlic being sauteed, no? Well obviously I did that first. And then in the same pan, while the macaroni was patiently taking in its first few minutes in the mix, I just added my raw, thawed, shelled, drained shrimp to whatever fat was left in the pan and lightly sauteed them. I’m talking like, *a* minutes here. I toyed with the idea of putting the shrimp in raw, since I knew fully cooked shrimp would get very tough after 35 minutes in the oven, but compromised on this consistency.

Lightly sauteing the shrimps.

Following my lead should result in the same delectable results I enjoyed.

Now it’s casserolin’ time! Use a glass or ceramic baking dish with about 64 square inches. In this case, I used an 8×8.

Shrimp and macaroni "Surf Bake"

At some point of the mixing of things, I included a tablespoon of jarred pimientos. It gives the dish a little bit of a Southwestern-looking flair, but didn’t add much taste, and it’s a little deceitful since this isn’t at all Southwestern, so I’ll be leaving them out in the future. The few sprigs of fresh parsley, however, did fresh things to my casserole (it’s okay, the casserole liked it).

Add some breadcrumbs, a little baking time, and voila! Surf and turf. This dish is really really REALLY good, but its unphotogenicness will probably scare some of you away, and Tastespotting probably won’t accept my submission. And I’m okay with that. Because if one, even one of you makes and enjoys this incredible dish, my foodie missionary work is done, and I shall surely dream of angels.

Shrimp and macaroni "Surf Bake"

Shrimp and Macaroni “Surf Bake”
serves 4 as a side

1 c cooked macaroni, just underdone (2 oz pre-cook)
1/2 finely diced onion
4 cloves minced or pressed garlic (less to taste)
4 tbsp flour (1/2 stick total, divided: 1 tbsp for sauteeing onions, 3 tbsp for roux)
3 tbsp butter
1/2 c buttermilk (substituting milk will be a-ok)
1/2 c milk
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp dry, powdered mustard
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp finely chopped parsley
1/2 finely diced jalapeno (seeded, whole jalapeno for the brave)
1/2 c corn (canned, frozen, fresh, you pick! I used canned)
8 oz small shrimp, thawed, raw, shelled, drained
2 tbsp breadcrumbs

First thing’s first: cook your macaroni a minute or two shy of the al dente recommendation on the package. While that’s on, sautee the onion and garlic in 1 tbsp butter. Dice the 1/2 jalapeno, finely chop the parsley, shell the shrimp and cut each in half.

Preheat oven to 375o.

Melt 3 tbsp butter in a medium saucepan over medium/high heat. Add flour, and whisk, continuously, until the mixture is a nice warm tan. If, at any point, this begins to smell like it’s burning, immediately turn down the heat, and you should be fine.

Take the roux off the burner. Add the buttermilk and milk (again, you can just use 1 cup of milk if you forgot the buttermilk) and whisk vigorously until smooth and unlumpy. Add paprika, mustard, salt, parsley, diced jalapeno, corn and mix thoroughly (the burner’s still off right here).

In the same pan you used to saute the onions and garlic, saute the shrimps for just a minute or two, until they have a little bit of colour, but before they’re fully cooked. Add to concoction.

Spread in an 8×8 casserole dish (glass or ceramic) and sprinkle the breadcrumbs atop it all. Bake for about 35 minutes. Serve with turf.

nutrition information for 1/4 batch: 325 calories, 3g fiber, 13g fat; 7 WW points

  1. kayce. Said,

    ooooh, NOM! your post just reminded me that the last time i made mac and cheese was THANKSGIVING… can you believe it? shame on me, LOL…

  2. Mara @ What's For Dinner? Said,

    WHOA that looks delicious!!!

  3. Esi Said,

    This looks like shrimp mac and cheese even though there is no cheese. It sounds delicious!!

  4. Natasha - 5 Star Foodie Said,

    This shrimp and macaroni look fantastic. Loving all the flavors.

  5. Muneeba Said,

    Looks like Tastespotting selected your pic, because that’s how I got here! And lookie here missy, that pic may be unappetizing to some, but I LOVED it! It spoke to me … said something like “you want me baby” .. and I do, hopefully soon. This is a great alternative to the chicken casserole I make sometimes.

  6. Nicolas Said,

    That looks amazing. I’m wondering how it would work without the shrimp, even though it wouldn’t be surf and turf.

  7. Mario Zigliotto Said,

    I NEED THAT RIGHT NOW.

  8. Prestocaro Said,

    This looks and sounds delicious… I can’t wait to try it. Your pictures always look so good! I wish I had a bright, sunny kitchen.
    Also, the pun-loving cornball in me will probably make this with shells,,, just to really knock ’em over the head with the “surf” aspect of it.

  9. Lynette Said,

    Love it can’t wait to try it thanks for sharing.

  10. Lisa Marie Said,

    WOW.
    This looks DELICIOUS!!!
    I am totally posting a link to this recipe on my blog.

    I LOVE YOUR BLOG!

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  13. ansella Said,

    hummm… I wonder why I always gettin hungry again everytime I stopped by ?

    it must be because the ordinary receipt, great pictures and a very creative person behind this ^^

  14. Miss Tish Said,

    MMMMmmmmmm! Looks WONDERFUL! I will definitely have to try this – I’m going to post a link on my blog too!!

  15. Ein2015 Said,

    This, I must make.

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    […] it’s worth it, because, well, it’s really REALLY tasty and hello skinny (like my homely Shrimp Surf ‘n Bake). Other times it’s just too heavenly NOT to share, and I cite as evidence the most amazing […]

  17. Lost Girl Said,

    My boyfriend and I take turns cooking each week and have contests for who has the yummiest week. I won the last one and I’m pretty sure it was due to this recipe.

    Thanks so much! This was fabulous!!

  18. raqz Said,

    i did you recipe x4 as main course for 4 :) extremely yummy, but x4 was too much… we had to freeze a tray! thank you for sharing this with us! :) next time i’ll try the rainbow cake!

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