Friday, June 12, 2009

The Hawthornes Fry Shrimp And Softshells.

Mr. Hawthorne stopped by our soft shell crab purveyor
the other night on his way home from work
and picked up another 2 dozen soft shells.
He cleaned them all, wrapped them individually,
and froze all but four of them.
And I had thawed out a bag of large shrimp.
My body has been telling me:
I need some fried food.
Must have fried food.
Tired of the damn salads and fruits and vegetables.
Gimme fried.
Well, you know I treat my body like the temple it is.
And wanting to pacify my inner voice
and placate my body's need to have a balanced diet,
I acquiesced to that voice.
We're having double fried!
Fried shrimp
fried soft shell crabs.
First the ingredients for my shrimp batter.
I love fried shrimp.
I think frying shrimp truly brings
out the flavor of the shrimp.
And I like a very light batter
so the shrimp can shine.
I hate going to a restaurant
and ordering a fried number
where I can pull off the bread-like casing
of doughy batter.
So, Imonna give you my arrrussupee
for a very light batter
that's delicious with shrimp
and wonderful with vegetables too.
(Talk about fried vegetables.
That's like having your cake and eating it too.
The ultimate in balanced diets!)
Equal amounts cake flour
and club soda.
Freshly ground salt and pepper.
That's it.
Just drop the shrimp in the batter ...
... and thoroughly coat.
If you're an experienced frier,
you can look at the oil and know when it's hot enough.
If you look at the surface and it's kinda wiggly,
then the oil is ready.
Another way is to dip a wooden utensil in the oil.
If bubbles vigourously bubble out of the wood,
then the oil is ready.
Or you could do the time-tested method
of sprinkling a few drops on the inside of your wrist ...
oh wait, that's for something else.
Anyway, what I've found to be the biggest problem
with other people's fried foods
(not mine)
is that their oil is not hot enough
or they crowd the pan with the food,
which reduces the temperature of the oil,
and leaves the food greasy
and the batter mushy.
I always fry in batches,
a little bit at a time,
a don't let the food touch each other.
Shrimp going into the hot oil.
I cooked the shrimp for maybe 45 - 60 seconds.
I would have used vegetable oil here,
which makes the batter browner,
but Mr. Hawthore,
ever looking out for our health needs,
chose the "healthier" Canola oil,
which doesn't brown like vegetable oil does.
I drained the shrimp on paper towels
and seasoned with some black pepper,
some red pepper flakes,
and a few shakes of Montreal Steak Seasoning.
Delicious, shrimpy, oceany, goodness,
with the occasional heat of the peppers.
After I finished the shrimp,
Mr. Hawthorne set up his station
for the soft shells.
From left to right,
the cleaned crabs,
flour seasoned with salt and pepper,
beaten eggs,
and a mixture of all-purpose flour and semolina flour.
First, dredge the soft shells in the seasoned flour,
shaking off the excess.
Then into the egg.
Into the flour/semolina mixture.
And into the hot oil.
Maybe 2 1/2 - 3 minutes.
Drain on paper towels.
And here's my plate.
Softshell crab with Mr. Hawthorne's tartar sauce
(Mayo, dill pickles, and sweet relish)
and lightly fried shrimp
with a sinus-cleansing cocktail sauce at top
(Ketchup, horseradish, Lea & Perrins, lemon juice),
a soy/vinegar/honey/toasted sesame seed/sesame oil
mixture over the middle shrimp,
and at the bottom, shrimp with Thai chili sauce.
An excellent repast.

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