What Is Shrimp Parmesan?

N. Swensson

There are a number of ways to make shrimp parmesan, but most versions are variations on Italian-themed recipes. One way to prepare the dish is by breading and baking the shrimp similar to the traditional recipes for chicken or veal parmesan. As shrimp is more delicate and easily overcooked, slightly different methods must be used, however. Shrimp parmesan can also be prepared as a very simple sauce with cheese and parsley and served over pasta, highlighting the seafood’s mild flavor. Another version of the dish could be made with a parmesan cream sauce, served either over pasta or alone. In general, shrimp is a very versatile ingredient, but requires quick cooking to maintain the best flavor and texture.


To make breaded shrimp parmesan, a cook should first butterfly the shrimp for more even cooking. To do this, he begins at the tail end and slices almost the whole way through the shrimp and spreads the two sides apart. He then removes the vein inside the shrimp and then coats it in a beaten egg followed by a mixture of bread crumbs, parmesan cheese, and seasonings such as basil or garlic. The cook then bakes or fries the breaded shrimp until cooked through and crispy and then drizzles butter and fresh herbs over top to serve.

Parmesan is a hard, aged cheese used in many dishes.
Parmesan is a hard, aged cheese used in many dishes.

Another preparation of shrimp parmesan can be made as a pasta sauce. First, garlic is sauteed in butter or olive oil until fragrant, and then the shrimp is added and cooked just until they turn pink. The cook then pours the mixture over pasta and tops with parmesan cheese and fresh parsley or basil. This is a great weeknight dinner for seafood lovers that is easy to prepare and has simple flavors. For the best possible result, a cook should use high-quality ingredients that are very fresh.

A similar pasta dish could be made with a cream sauce. For this version of shrimp parmesan, a cook should sauté garlic in butter or oil as above and then add heavy cream and parmesan cheese and simmer gently until thickened. The shrimp should be added near the end of cooking time and removed from the heat when the shrimp turn pink. This sauce can be served over pasta as in the above recipe or can be topped with more parmesan cheese and bread crumbs and placed under a hot broiler for a few minutes to form a crust. This version can be served with a light salad and garlic bread.

In these versions of shrimp parmesan or in any other seafood dish, it is very important to avoid overcooking shrimp, which can quickly become rubbery and develop a fishy taste. In most cases, the other ingredients in a recipe should be allowed to cook almost completely before adding the shrimp. Owing to this quick cooking time, shrimp can be an excellent ingredient for a number of quick and easy meals.

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