I hit the German Coast farmer’s market this weekend and was happy to find not one but two seafood vendors. Barely a week into the August white shrimp season, I wasn’t sure if I would find any fresh shrimp at all….early reports focused on the relative scarcity and small size of the catch. So I was happy to buy three pounds of 16-20 count white shrimp for $10, fresh from the inshore waters around Dulac, in Terrebonne Parish. $3.33 a pound still makes locally caught shrimp an affordable protein source….As quick as I could get them home and peeled, I lunched on fried shrimp. BP, crude oil, and Corexit be damned…it’s still August, and I wanted shrimp.
- 1 to 1.5 lbs medium/large shrimp (16-20 count is ideal, to me), peeled & well-chilled
- 1 quart peanut oil or other neutral frying oil
- 1 cup milk
- 1 egg
- 3/4 cup fine white cornmeal
- 1 cup all purpose flour, divided
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 tsp ground cayenne pepper
- salt, to taste
- lemon wedges
Beat egg lightly in a medium bowl, then beat in 1 cup milk until slightly frothy. Place peeled shrimp into the milk/egg mixture to rest while completing remaining steps. Mix cornmeal and 3/4 cup of the all-purpose flour, along with the black pepper and cayenne in a wide, shallow dish; set aside. Place oil in a deep, 3-quart saucepan. Heat oil over medium high heat (in the range of 375 degrees). Remove shrimp from the milk mixture, reserving it, and place in a small bowl. Sprinkle over remaining 1/4 cup all purpose flour, stirring to coat the shrimp completely, then return the lightly floured shrimp briefly to the milk mixture. Take the shrimp, a few at a time, from the milk mixture and roll in the seasoned cornmeal/flour mixture, coating each completely. Fry the shrimp, in two batches, in the hot oil, stirring to separate and removing from the oil when browned. Sprinkle with salt while still hot, and squeeze a little fresh lemon over the shrimp before serving.
A double dip in the egg/milk wash makes a nice crust on each shrimp. Starting with very cold shrimp ensures that the coating sticks to the seafood, rather than separating and falling to the bottom of the pot. For spicier shrimp, add a little liquid crab boil to the egg/milk mixture.