Okay, I admit it. The name of this dish isn’t exactly enticing. You’re probably asking yourself why you would want to make, serve or eat something referred to as “dirty?” However, before you quickly scroll to the next post, I beg you not to judge a dish by its name. You can’t tell me that puppy chow, pork butt or hot dogs actually sound appealing. But, we all know that they are delicious! So give these dirty shrimp crostini the same chance and I promise you will not be disappointed.
The origin of this recipe comes from my mom’s friend Carol MacKinnon. Not only is Carol the nicest, most genuine person ever, but she is also a fantastic cook. This not only applies to what she cooks, but how.
Carol has a sense of calm control as gracefully glides around the kitchen mixing, chopping and tasting. This stands in stark opposition to how I picture myself in the kitchen: a frenzied ball of energy dropping (everything,) cutting (herself) and cussing (loudly.) Graceful is about the last word on Earth that describes me.
It was therefore always a treat to go to Carol’s house for dinner while I was growing up. My absolute favorite nights were those when she made Dirty Shrimp, a dish composed of shrimp drenched in the most amazing, buttery sauce. Everyone would sit around a communal platter laughing, peeling shrimp and dipping crusty bread in the intoxicating sauce. Heaven.
While I love the family-style way of eating Dirty Shrimp, I wanted to replicate the flavors in as an easy-to-eat, handheld appetizer. A crostini was the obvious answer, as it uses the crusty bread as a vehicle for both the shrimp and the sauce.
When Carol first shared her Dirty Shrimp recipe with me, I was shocked. I had assumed it was a complicated dish with tons of ingredients. WRONG! The sauce contains butter, Italian salad dressing, Worcestershire and parmesan cheese. I have added a few extra spices to my recipe, but for the most part this is it! As Ina Garten would say, “how easy is that?!”
Fresh shrimp is obviously best for this appetizer, but frozen will work great too if you do not have good fresh shrimp available. Don’t worry about buying a nice Italian dressing- store-bought is all you need. To ensure that each bite is loaded with the incredible Dirty Shrimp flavors, make sure to coat both the bread and the shrimp in the buttery sauce. This is a great appetizer to make for a party, as it is different than your standard cheese ball or guacamole and SO EASY TO MAKE! It is sure to be a crowd favorite.
- 1 baguette (I used whole wheat)
- 1 pound shrimp, shelled and deveined
- ½ cup unsalted butter
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- ¼ cup Italian dressing
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
- 1-2 teaspoons crush red pepper (optional)
- Parsley for garnish
- Cut baguette into ½-inch thick slices.
- Peel shrimp. In a skillet, heat 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high heat. Sauté peeled shrimp 1-2 minutes on each side, or until cooked through. Set aside.
- In a small saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add in minced garlic and cook for 30 seconds, or until golden brown and fragrant. Mix in remaining ingredients and cook until mixture starts bubbling and thickens.
- Turn broiler on high. Brush butter mixture on both sides of the bread slices and place on a large baking sheet. Broil 3-4 minutes on each side, or until well toasted.
- While bread toasts, add shrimp in remaining sauce and stir.
- Place one shrimp on each toast (or two if you have extra). Put back until broiler for 1-2 minutes.
- Top with parsley and more grated parmesan cheese. Serve and enjoy!