Old-school and crazy-caloric, Chicago's shrimp de Jonghe is said to date back to the late 19th century. Created by Belgian brothers, who ran a Chicago restaurant and served the dish at the World's Columbian Exposition, it remains a treasure in many a Chicago restaurant today.
Its appeal is timeless. It's also easy to make.
Use quality raw jumbo shrimp. And don't skimp on the butter; otherwise your breadcrumbs with be dry. While some versions omit the lemon, I find it integral to cut through the richness and brighten the dish.
If you don't have sherry on hand, dry white wine may be used. However, the effect won't be quite the same.
Because it's quite heavy, this dish bodes well as an appetizer, too. If you serve it as a main course, accompany it with a crunchy green salad.
- 2 pounds peeled, deveined, raw jumbo shrimp
- 3/4 cup dry sherry
- 2 sticks (1 cup) butter
- 2 medium cloves garlic, minced (about 2 teaspoons)
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 1/2 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, minced
- 1 tablespoon minced white onion
- 1 1/2 cups seasoned breadcrumbs
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 lemon, cut into wedges
Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 9- by 13-inch baking dish. Arrange shrimp evenly across the bottom.
Place sherry, butter, garlic, parsley, thyme, onion, breadcrumbs and cayenne in the bowl of a food processor. Season with salt and pepper and pulse to combine until it becomes a paste-like mixture. Spread evenly over shrimp.
Transfer to oven and bake until shrimp is firm and no longer translucent, and breadcrumbs are golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes. Serve immediately with lemon wedges.