Tuesday, December 15, 2015

BEST Fried Shrimp

When buying fresh shrimp look for sustainable wild-caught shrimp usually found at your local seafood market and some grocery stores.

Fresh shrimp are highly perishable, so it's important to know how to pick out the freshest shrimp available, not just for taste and texture but also for safety. 

  • First off, you don't want any shrimp that smell like ammonia—this is a telltale sign of spoilage, and it's worth asking your fishmonger if you can take a sniff before buying. 
  • You'll also want to avoid shrimp that are limp, slimy, or falling apart, all of which are signs of decay.

Frozen shrimp are either frozen in large five pound blocks or by using the IQF (Individually Quick Frozen) method. IQF shrimp tend to show less damage during freezing. They also make it easy to thaw only the shrimp you need for a single meal at a time. 

If you're buying from a grocery store freezer, take a peek in the little transparent plastic window at the shrimp within. Any freezer burn? Move on to the next bag. Freezer burn indicates that the shrimp have either partially thawed before being refrozen, or have been poorly handled during their freeze, both of which are bad for texture and flavor.

With shrimp, size does matter. I like large or extra large because that size suits me best for steaming, sauteing, and grilling, but as you can see by the chart, shrimp come in all sizes, from Extra Small to Extra Colossal. 

1-2 lbs. large raw shrimp, peeled, tails intact
1-2 tbls. hot sauce
2 large eggs
1 tsp. course-ground black pepper
1 tsp.salt
1/2 cup finely ground cornmeal
1 1/2 cups self-rising flour
1 tsp. cayenne pepper
peanut, canola, or other oil for frying


Peel and devein shrimp, leaving tails on if possible. In a large bowl, whisk together hot sauce and eggs; add shrimp and stir to coat well.

In another shallow bowl, combine course-ground black pepper, salt, cornmeal, flour, and cayenne.

Pour enough oil into a Dutch oven or other deep pot to reach a depth of 3 inches. Heat the oil to 325-375.

Dredge the shrimp in the cornmeal/flour mixture and shake off any excess. Fry the shrimp in small batches, being careful to not crowd the pot, flipping once, until golden brown. Be careful not to over cook; 1 1/2 minutes is about all the time you'll need until they are cooked through.

Transfer the shrimp to paper towel lined baking sheets to drain; serve while hot.

Also seen on Meal Plan Monday



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