Warm cheesy shrimp baked with chopped mushroom, fresh basil, and Italian seasoning, a simple but delicious appetizer that tastes just like pizza.
This is a great appetizer for Thanksgiving, but you’ll have to make several batches if you want it to last. No matter how much I make, they’re always gone in a few minutes. My recipe is only for a dozen shrimp, but it can easily be doubled or more to fit the number of guests.
I know that shrimps are high in cholesterol, but they’re so good, I just can’t resist them. That’s okay. The key is moderation. You don’t have to stop eating them altogether, just limit how much you make which, in turn, limits how much you eat. Shrimp was actually one of my staples during my early college years. I’ve always said to my friends that if I had to give up anything, I’d rather give up meat than shrimp. Seriously.
I really like using shrimp in my dishes because it doesn’t take long to cook. When you’re studying, everything needs to be quick and simple. That’s when I came up with the idea of baked shrimp. I topped about a dozen shrimp with ingredients that I had on hand, baked it in the oven for 10 minutes, and when they’re ready to be eaten, they’re gone in under 5 minutes. That’s how good they are.
I love this recipe because it requires just several ingredients: a dozen shrimp, olive oil, Italian seasoning, crushed red pepper flakes, basil, mushrooms, and cheese.
First, prep all the ingredients. Chop two large mushrooms into small pieces, chiffonade the basil, and measure out the olive oil, crushed red peppers, Italian seasoning, salt, and cheese. When I say chiffonade, it’s really just a fancy word that means “to cut into ribbons.” In this case, just stack the basil leaves on top of one another and then cut into ribbons.
Line a baking sheet with foil and lightly grease it with olive oil. Place the shrimp onto the baking sheet leaving some space in between and drizzle olive oil onto the shrimp. Then, sprinkle everything else onto the shrimp. I used my fingers to control how much I want to put on each individual shrimp. It’s so much easier than using a spoon. I pinched Italian seasoning between my fingers and sprinkled it over the shrimp, making sure the shrimp is covered.
Next, sprinkle on the crushed red pepper flakes. If you don’t like spicy, add less red pepper flakes. I personally like my food spicy so I added a generous amount as you can see below. Then sprinkle on the salt. You don’t need a lot of salt because there’s already so much flavor in the other ingredients. I actually didn’t use all of the salt I wrote on the recipe. It’s listed as ½ tablespoon so that it’s easier to pinch and sprinkle.
Add mushroom next. It’s going to be a little hard keeping everything on top of the shrimp, but just do your best. The smaller the pieces are, the easier it is to balance the ingredients on top. You can use 1-2 large mushrooms, depending on how much you put on the shrimp.
Now, add the basil. This will give the shrimp a refreshing taste.
Lastly, top with cheese. I tried to cover the basil with cheese because if the basil is exposed to too much heat, it will become dry and shriveled.
Put the baking sheet into the oven at 350 degrees for about 8-10 minutes. Then take the baking sheet out and set aside to cool for a few minutes. Oftentimes, while in the oven, the toppings start to fall off the shrimp. You can see by the picture below what a mess it looks. But that’s okay. I just scooped it up with a spoon and placed it back on the shrimp. Or you can just eat it. The cheese gets a little crispy after it’s baked for 10 minutes on the baking sheet.
The result? Slightly spicy cheesy shrimp topped with mushroom and basil that tastes just like pizza. It’s really all because of the Italian seasoning. The mix of different dry herbs such as thyme, oregano, rosemary, sage, and basil is what creates the pizza like taste. It’s also great for pasta dishes and seasoning for chicken. I use it in a lot of my dishes. It’s one of the seasonings I always have on hand.
Now, let the shrimp cool down for a few minutes before you plate and serve. Enjoy!
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