Ok, so before I get into this dish, I will just go ahead and admit that it’s a weird one. I’m not sure why I came up with it, but the idea intrigued me. I had some extra frozen scallops and shrimp that I needed to use, so I decided to try a new idea off of the top of my head. Anyway, it’s definitely different while looking visually interesting, and despite the low calories, it’s actually really filling. While I can’t say this will be one of my favorites from now on, I did enjoy the incongruous pairing of some of the flavors.
My first attempt left me feeling like the seafood didn’t quite pair properly with the pepper. I just kept tasting the pepper unless I ate the seafood separately. I think the pepper was too “earthy” for the seafood and it needed something to bridge that gap. What I decided on was to season the seafood with earthy and smoky spices, but I didn’t want to overpower the shellfish, so I tried to keep it light. I also added a little acidity in the form of tomatoes, lemon, and vinegar. This definitely brought the two worlds together and made the dish work. Lastly, I initially wanted to stuff the peppers without slicing them, but cubanelles are often slender, so it was hard to get the filling down to the bottom (especially if there was a bend in the pepper). The alternative was to slice them open and fill them like you would a lobster tail, which is exactly what they looked like. Green lobster tails! I thought that was a fun accidental perk (see below)!
So, on with the recipe:
Makes 7 (or 8) servings with 1,086 total calories.
About 155 calories per serving.
- 1 pound (16 oz.) of scallops (about 300 calories)
Note: Don’t waste good scallops on this if you do use scallops. Frozen or smaller scallops are fine.
- 300 grams (10 oz.) of peeled, de-veined, shrimp (about 360 calories)
Note: You can use just shrimp, or just scallops, or even a white fish, or crab (I might actually recommend crab instead), or any other similar variation. I just happened to use scallops and shrimp because I had some. Also feel free to use less seafood, because this actually makes a lot more than I imagined!
- 7 (or 8) cubanelle peppers (about 18 calories per pepper or 126 total)
- 2 vine ripened tomatoes (about 30 calories per tomato or 60 calories total)
- 2 teaspoon crushed/pureed garlic
- 2 teaspoon dried parsley
- 2 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 2 teaspoon white vinegar (or white wine vinegar)
- Lemon wedges.
- 15 Ritz Crackers (80 calories per 5 crackers or 240 calories total)
Note: You can also use seasoned panko bread crumbs instead.
- Optional: 1 – 2 tbs of butter (about 100 – 200 calories).
- Large mixing bowl
- Cutting board
- Sharp large knife
- Large baking dish/pan
- Teaspoon and Tablespoon measurements
- Optional: Tenderizing mallet or small food processor
- Turn your oven broiler on and set to “high.”
Substitute: You can also you an outdoor or indoor grill set on medium-high heat.
- Wash the peppers, cut off the tops, and take out the seeds as well as the white-ish parts sticking out from the sides.
- Place the peppers into a large baking dish so that they aren’t touching and then place into the oven (or place the peppers directly onto the grill).
- Let the outside of the peppers char until they are blackish, then turn them over so that the other side chars as well (about 4 minutes each side), and then remove them from the oven/grill to cool. Set the oven for 375 degrees F.
- Cut up the tomatoes into small (about 1/4 inch) cubes and set aside.
- Dice the shrimp and scallops into small pieces. You can also use a food processor for this, but be careful not to over-blend, otherwise you won’t have a chunky texture, but more of a paste.
- Put the scallops and shrimp into a large bowl and start adding the following ingredients: tomatoes, garlic, chili powder, paprika, parsley, and vinegar. Then mix thoroughly.
- Let the ingredients settle and absorb flavors while you carefully cut the peppers down one side and open them so that the stuffing can go in easily. They will kind of flop about, but when you stuff them you will wrap the sides up around the seafood.
- Next stuff the peppers with the seafood mixture. You should be able to use all of the mix spread out over seven or eight peppers.
- After stuffing the peppers, crush up 12-15 Ritz crackers using a food processor or simply place them in a ziploc bag and crushing them using a tenderizing mallet. You can also just go Hulk on the crackers and crush them up in your (washed and clean) hands.
- Sprinkle the crushed Ritz crackers over the seafood mix in the peppers.
Optional: Melt 1-2 tablespoons of butter and drizzle it over the crackers on the peppers. This adds 100 – 200 calories to the total of the dish or 14 – 28 calories per pepper.
- Bake the peppers for about 15 to 20 minutes until the stuffing is white and the crackers are golden brown (in the photo below, I think the tops could have browned a little more, but the seafood was done, so I didn’t want to overcook it.
- Remove the peppers carefully from the baking dish with a spatula and serve with a lemon wedge.
- I would recommend serving this with rice pilaf and grilled asparagus. In the picture below, I served it with fried plantains, which did not pair properly with this dish. I just bought them on an impulse and wanted to eat them, so that’s the only reason they accompanied this dish. It looks nice though!