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The Eli's Cheesecake Cookbook

“Eli’s menu has a number of dishes born in Chicago, the most famous being Shrimp de Jonghe.”
—Chicago Sun-Times writer Pat Bruno

Belgian brothers Henri, Pierre, and Charles de Jonghe owned a restaurant and hotel at 21 E. Monroe Street from the turn of the 20th century until it was closed by police following a Prohibition raid in 1923. Either the brothers or their chef, Emil Zehr, are responsible for the invention of a true Chicago classic, Shrimp de Jonghe. This super-garlicky, oozing with butter, crunchy breadcrumb-topped dish sold so well at Eli’s The Place For Steak that the kitchen made 50 pounds of its Savory Butter Breadcrumb Crust a day.
“Eli’s follows the original masterful creation closely. With my order, under a blanket of seasoned breadcrumbs, a lot of good shrimp came to know melted butter and an intense garlic flavor quite well. It was enough to make me believe that the de Jonghe brothers would have been most approving.”
—Pat Bruno, Chicago Sun-Times, April 5, 1992.

Posted by Agate Publishing Published See Agate Publishing's 15 projects » © 2023 Maureen Schulman · Reproduced with permission. · Reprinted with permission from The Eli's Cheesecake Cookbook by Maureen Schulman, Tara Lane, Diana Moles, and Jolene Worthington, Agate Midway, 2015.
  • Step 1

    Preheat the oven to 375°F and adjust the rack so it is in the center of the oven. Arrange 6 (6-inch) ungreased shallow, ovenproof gratin dishes on a large baking sheet.

  • Step 2

    Divide and slightly mound 4 to 5 shrimp in the bottom of each gratin dish. Drizzle 1 tablespoon of the wine over each of the mounds of shrimp.

  • Step 3

    Slice the Savory Butter Breadcrumb Crust log into ¼-inch rounds. Place several of the sliced rounds, overlapping them slightly, on top of each of the mounds of shrimp, until they resemble the top of a pie crust.

  • Step 4

    Place the baking sheet on the center rack of the oven and bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until the crust is browned. Remove from the oven and serve hot in the gratin dishes.

    NOTE: Making this recipe means you’ll witness a culinary miracle! The pastry-like Savory Butter Breadcrumb Crust bathes the shrimp in melted butter as it cooks, which simultaneously steams the shrimp, bastes it, and seasons it.

  • Step 5

    Savory Butter Breadcrumb Crust

    In a large mixing bowl, combine the butter, shallots, garlic, parsley, Worcestershire sauce, chili sauce, and celery salt. Stir until well combined. Add the bread crumbs and stir until just combined.

  • Step 6

    Transfer the mixture to a cutting board and form it into a 2-inch×12-inch log. Wrap the log in parchment paper and chill in the refrigerator for 2 hours, until firm.

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