Monday, August 20, 2018

I Love Fried Shrimp.


I LOVE shrimp.
Love it.

And fried shrimp?  Love it even more.
There's just something about frying shrimp that really brings out the shrimp flavor.
Frying shrimp makes the shrimp shine.

Here's my lunch:
fried shrimp, fried with yet another batter
cucumber salad
cocktail sauce
tartar sauce

And oh, what a fine lunch it was!

 Fried Shrimp
1/3 cup cornmeal
1/3 cup flour
1/3 cup cornstarch
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
Mix all ingredients together.

Peel shrimp, leaving the tails intact, and de-tract shrimp.  I don't say de-vein, because that's not a vein running down the back of the shrimp.  That's the digestive tract.  Some people don't bother to remove it, but I bother.  It's gritty and unsightly.  And that other "vein" that runs down the belly?  That too is not a vein.  It's a nerve.  But I don't bother messing with that.

Mix all batter ingredients in a container (You can use a paper bag.), add shrimp, and shake, shake, shake to evenly coat shrimp.

Heat a heavy pot with 2 or so inches of peanut oil to 375°. Get an instant-read laser thermometer.  Inexpensive and worth every penny.  

Carefully drop the shrimp in the hot oil, one at a time. Fry about 6-8 at a time.  And DO NOT CROWD the pan.  If you throw in too many shrimp, you'll drastically lower the temperature of the oil.  This results in soggy, greasy shrimp. 

I use an 8-inch diameter and 4 1/2-inch deep heavy pot filled with about 2 inches of oil.

Fry 60 - 75 seconds, or until shrimp is a beautiful golden brown.  Scoop out shrimp and drain.

Rosie Note:  I use peanut oil because it has a high smoke point.  Cooking oils react differently to heat and, the hotter they get, the more they tend to break down and start to smoke, imparting a burnt flavor to the fried food or, worse, starting a fire.  This means that certain oils are better for high-heat cooking (like deep frying) than others.  Also, an oil's smoke point does not remain constant.  The more times you use an oil, heating it, the lower its smoke point becomes.  Frying in an oil will cause batter or breading particles to drop off into the oil, lowering its smoke point even more.  So do not over-use your oil.  I drain and filter my oil after each frying to get rid of those particles so I can reuse the oil.  And after 2-3 fryings, I dispose of it.


Ooooh...  Look at those pretty black pepper specks!

I served this with coleslaw and a cucumber salad.

For the coleslaw dressing, I mixed 1/4 cup mayo, 1 TB cider vinegar, 2 tsp sugar, and 2 TB buttermilk.  I like the tang that the buttermilk brings to the party.  Whisk all together and season with a pinch of kosher salt and a few grinds of pepper.  Taste test!  Adjust ingredients if you desire.  Pour dressing over your coleslaw mix and toss to coat.  For my coleslaw, I used about 1 1/2 - 2 cups shredded Chinese cabbage, with julienned (matchstick) carrots, and some diced multi-colored pepper.  
All measurements are estimates.  Generally, when I make something I've made hundreds of times, I just throw it all in together.  No need for exact measurements here.

For the cucumber salad:  Peel and thinly slice as much cucumber as you want.  Peel and chop some tomato.  Sprinkle some sugar over top, then drizzle on some cider vinegar.  Add kosher salt and freshly ground pepper.  Toss to coat.  Give it some green.  I used fresh dill sprigs, but you could try something entirely different if you like - mint or basil.  Either would work.

For the dipping sauces, I have the ubiquitous cocktail sauce and tartar sauce.
Again, no exact measurements.  I'll just give you ingredients and let you sort it out.

For the cocktail sauce:
lemon juice
Lea & Perrins Worcestershire sauce
If I had to guestimate, I'd figger 1/4 cup ketchup, 2 TB horseradish, and a tablespoon each of the lemon juice and Worcestershire.  And when I mix these ingredients together, I don't make a homogeneous mixture.  I like pockets of flavors in which to dip my shrimp.  Sometimes I'll dip into the lemon, sometimes the Lea & Perrins, and sometimes I'll get a sinus-searing slap of horseradish.

 For the tartar sauce:

pickles - salad cubes, bread and butter, relish (You can use any combination or all three.)
optional capers, if desired
fresh dill
chopped scallions
Combine all ingredients.


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