When you stuff mirlitons or eggplants or bell peppers, do your guests eat the vegetables along with the stuffing? Or do they just eat the stuffing and toss out the vegetable? The pepper? Or eggplant? Or mirliton? Don’t that just bug you to death? “Eat the veggie with the stuffing,” I feel like yelling across the table! But here’s a way to keep your blood pressure under control and solve the dilemma for once and for all. Make stuffed bell pepper patties! That way, they gotta eat the bell pepper!
4 large bell peppers, medium diced
1/2 cup vegetable oil for sautéing, divided
1 cup commercially prepared mirepoix
1 pound crab claw meat
2 cloves garlic, minced
2-1/2 pounds cleaned chopped shrimp
1/3 cup old fashioned oats or coarsely crushed croutons
3/4 loaf broken lightly toasted sliced bread
1 tablespoon Frank Davis Seafood Seasoning or as desired to taste
1 tablespoon sea or kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce
½ cup fresh Italian flat leaf parsley, minced
½ to 1 cup cooked rice as needed
2 well-beaten eggs as binder
1 stick almost melted butter, divided
2-4 cups Italian seasoned bread crumbs
1 can Spray Pam or 1 cup vegetable oil for sautéing
Bowl of buttered green beans
Hearts of Romaine Salad with garlic, croutons, anchovies, and Parmesan cheese
1 jar bottled Bertoli Basil and Garlic spaghetti sauce for topping
First, wash, dry, and cut the bell peppers and chop them into fine-to-medium dice.
Then pour a quarter cup of vegetable oil in a large high-sided skillet and bring it up to medium-high heat. When the oil just begins to show a wisp of smoke, drop in the chopped bell peppers, the mirepoix, the garlic, and the diced shrimp.
Then combine everything and sauté the mixture until all the veggies wilt and the shrimp fully turns pink (about 10 minutes).
Next, stir it around briskly, and reduce the heat to medium-low, allowing time for the shrimp to “sweat” out its natural juices.
All the while, continue to fold the mixture with a chef’s spoon or heat-proof spatula.
When the stuffing concoction begins to form clusters that want to stick to the spoon, you’re ready to turn the fire off and begin folding in the remainder of the ingredients—oats or croutons, toasted sliced bread, seafood seasoning, kosher salt, black pepper, cayenne, Worcestershire sauce, parsley, and cooked rice.
Then when everything is uniformly blended and the heat has dissipated from the skillet, quickly and briskly fold in the eggs so that the patties will hold together when they are formed and shaped. At this point, set the stuffing aside until you’re ready to put the patties together.
When you’re ready to eat, you have two options: (1) bake the patties, or (2) pan-fry the patties.
- Take a half sheet pan, line it with parchment paper, scoop out a small-to-moderate handful of mix, place it on a sheet of freezer wrap on the countertop, flatten it into a serving-size patty, brush it liberally with some of the almost melted butter, shake on a generous sprinkling of seasoned bread crumbs, and “gently” transfer the patty to the sheet pan. Repeat the procedure over and over until you have all of the patties on the sheet pan.
- Then liberally spray the top of each patty with the Pam and slide the sheet pan into a 350-degree oven for about 35 minutes or until they turn a toasty, crispy, golden brown.
- Put a 12-inch or 14-inch non-stick skillet on a medium to medium-high fire.
- Immediately place into the pan a scant amount to vegetable oil and a smidge of melted butter.
- While the mixture is coming up to heat, scoop out a small-to-moderate handful of mix, place it on a sheet of freezer wrap on the countertop, flatten it into a serving-size patty, shake on a generous sprinkling of seasoned bread crumbs “on both sides”, and “gently” transfer the patty to the hot non-stick skillet.
- Gently pan-fry on both sides until the patty is toasty, crispy, and golden brown.
Whether you bake or sauté the patties, during Lent serve them alongside a cold, crisp Hearts of Romaine salad with a side of hot buttered cut green beans.
Oh, yeah—be sure that when you serve the patties you drizzle some hot spaghetti sauce—bottled or homemade—over each one.
- Should the stuffing mixture become a tad too dry, you can re-moisten it by stirring in small amounts of low sodium vegetable stock a little at a time until it reaches your desired consistency. Then at this point the patties can be either baked or pan-sautéed.
- Before shaping and cooking the patties, be sure to do a final taste test for adequate salt and pepper. This is one recipe that tastes best when the seasonings are cooked inside the stuffing as opposed to sprinkling it on top of it.
- And yes! You can also make this recipe using eggplant, squash, or mirlitons instead of bell peppers.