When I was growing up, my dad did the majority of the weeknight dinner-making. I don’t think that cooking is an activity he finds especially enjoyable (unless it involves using his meat smoker or other manly outdoor cooking methods), but he consistently had a warm, tasty dinner on the table for us to eat as a family. Pretty cool.
A lot of times, he would make standard stuff — spaghetti, taco salad, beef stroganoff, chili. But sometimes he’d just throw something together that ended up tasting good but lacked an official name. As a curious and food-obsessed child, this drove me crazy. I wanted dinner to have a NAME so that I could look forward to it (or in the case of beef stroganoff, contemplate an exit strategy). But my dad would not give in to my demands or pestering. On nights like this, his standard answer to my repeated “what’s for dinner?”s was always: “just something I womped up.”
Also — as I learned later — not a real word. For the most part. Urban Dictionary offers a number of quasi-NSFW definitions of ‘womp/whomp,’ including, “to clobber or beat up,” “an amalgamation of ‘shit!’ and ‘that sucks,'” “the sound a dinosaur makes when it sneezes,” and “a big fat woman that serves no purpose” (!). I did find one entry in an online dictionary supporting my dad’s usage of the phrase “whomp up” to mean “prepare or cook quickly or hastily.” But since that’s the only one, and since my dad’s computer and internet skills have been improving rapidly in the last few years, I’m not entirely convinced that he didn’t plant that there himself.
These avocado-shrimp parmesan heroes are — more or less — something I just womped up. And just like the majority of the dinners my dad irritatingly refused to assign names to, they were pretty darn good.
AVOCADO-SHRIMP PARMESAN HEROES (quasi-inspired by Rachael Ray)
Vegetable or canola oil (for frying)
1 large egg
1 cup skim milk
1 1/2 pounds large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/2 cup flour
1 cup bread crumbs
1 tbsp Italian seasoning
1 tbsp grated parmesan cheese
4 whole-wheat hot dog buns, split
1/2 cup marinara sauce
2 avocados, peeled and sliced
1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
- Heat about 1-inch of oil in a deep skillet over medium heat. Preheat oven’s broiler.
- Beat egg and milk together in large bowl. Add shrimp to milk-egg mixture and allow to soak while you prepare other ingredients.
- Combine flour, bread crumbs, Italian seasoning, parmesan cheese, and about 1/2 tsp salt in shallow pie plate. Using tongs, remove a few shrimp at a time from milk mixture and coat in breading. Add breaded shrimp to oil and fry until firm and golden, 1-2 minutes.
- Spread tomato sauce on buns. Top with fried shrimp and avocado slices, then sprinkle with mozzarella. Place sandwiches on foil-lined cookie sheet and broil until cheese is melted and bubbly, 2-3 minutes.
Here’s hoping you womp up something great tonight.