August 30, 2011

Fried Cornmeal Battered Bayou Shrimp

The Gulf's good blessings...

There are so many good ways to cook shrimp, but one of my favorite ways is using an old tried and true recipe and doing what many of us are trying so hard not to do - eating fried foods. Somehow though, every once in a blue moon ya just gotta treat yourself to the flavors of foods like this one, so simple and rustic yet comes about with a balanced complexity from the seasoned batter beautifully adhered to the marinated beer spiced shrimp.

Now when it comes to frying seafood, oh-my-goodness, there are so many good recipes and methods and it really comes down to what kind of mood you are in or what your tastebuds are calling out, ya know what I mean?
I love a good tempura batter that stays light and crisp leaving the shrimp fresh and sweet, one like mine that uses alcohol in the batter.  The alcohol burns away cleanly leaving behind a clear tasting coating. I will post it one day. 

Gulf Coast White Shrimp
The method below is similar to those used in households and seafood houses all around the area. We love our seafood and treat 'em with so much respect, like bathing them in this beer/egg wash to get them all happy and following through with a dusting of seasoned mix to bring the flavor of the seafood right to the forefront where it belongs. The cayenne in the bath is very important as it makes the shrimp sing. The egg and beer bath was taught to me by an old cook in a local seafood house and it is a good one. Fresh seafood from the Gulf of Mexico is the best around and he told me more than once to honor it and show respect to it in everything we create using it. Amen!  Cake flour is used just like in a good tempura batter so as the gluten will not toughen and the beer works to form a yeasty action that helps to bond and adds a depth of flavor as well. The cornmeal coating adds another tasty layer of crunchiness and finishes the double dip batter process. Only use large or jumbo shrimp with this type of batter. Oh, and one more tip, ya know how shrimp has a natural curve and sometimes the batter may not get done in the center of the curled shrimp? Well if you want, cut two or three small slits across the underneath part of the shrimp to aid in straightening out thus preventing it in curling up as it cooks. I did not this time and luckily it turned out just fine. Now, lets git to it... Enjoy!

Don't forget to check out this week's Football Game-Day Recipes


Fried Cornmeal Battered Bayou Shrimp

beer batter bath
2 pounds extra large (21-25) or jumbo (16-20) shrimp
Fish Fry Mix, below
Cooking oil

Beer Batter for Shrimp and Seafood
2 teaspoons Creole seasoning or a mix of salt, cayenne, black pepper will do
1 bottle beer
2 eggs, slightly beaten
Cake Flour

Fish Fry Mix
also good for shrimp, crabclaws, oysters, onion rings, vegetables; heck, anything ya wanna fry…

1 cup cornmeal
1/2 cup cake flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon red cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons sweet paprika

This Fry Mix recipe is good for about 2 pounds of shrimp and crabclaws (fingers) and about 4 or 5 eating size fillets of fish. Oysters don't take a lot of breading in my opinion, so just dust them lightly with mix.

Now lets get to the shrimp: peel and devein. I used jumbos today so I deveined all of them to somewhat butterfly the backs a little. Normally, I only devein shrimp that have dark veins showing, otherwise there is no need to it. I do not think it effects taste at all. Only use the largest shrimp for frying, unless you like the taste of a lot of batter.

In a bowl, sprinkle the shrimp with the Creole seasoning and mix with your hands, add a little more cayenne or Slap Your Mama if you have it. I think a little cayenne enhances the shrimp. Pour beer over the shrimp, just enough to cover. Mix in the eggs and add just enough flour to make a thin batter, sort of the consistency of pancake batter. Cover and place in the refrigerator for 12 to 24 hours for best results. But if you're all fired up, you can cook them after about 4 hours.

Make the Fish Fry Mix in a wide bowl. With tongs (keeps your hands from gumming up) remove the shrimp from the egg bath, let drip a few moments and lay in the bowl. Coat well with mix and place on a sheet pan. Continue until all are coated. I like to sprinkle a little of the mix over the shrimp, flip them over and refrigerate to regain coolness while I heat up the oil. I think cold foods fry better.

In a heavy pot, (I like a deep 3-quart for small batch frying) add enough oil to cover a handful of shrimp, about 1 1/2 inches. Always leave room for the added foods and for the action of the oil, the last thing you want is oil bubbling over. Heat the oil to 365 degrees F, about 10 minutes on my cooker or you can test by droppin' in one shrimp. It should cook golden brown in 2 to 3 minutes. Carefully add the shrimp being careful not to over crowd the oil and cook until golden light brown. They will normally float to the surface if the oil is deep enough, if not be sure to flip over after a minute or so. Quickly remove to a paper towel lined pan.  You can hold shrimp for a short time in a very low heated oven.

Serve with a combination of my favorite sauces:  Creole Remoulade, Creole Cocktail Sauce, Creole Tarter Sauce, Horseradish Sauce, Louis Sauce, Tabasco Seafood Sauce or White Remoulade Dressing.
Good with Buttermilk Slaw, Celery Slaw or something different like Marinated Artichoke Remoulade Pasta Salad.

NOTE: Some folks like to cook shrimp in the oven and that's just fine too. Spray pan with cooking oil and bake in a 350 degree F. oven for 12 to 15 minutes. Test one of the shrimp. The coating will not be as crispy and be careful not to overcook the shrimp.

12 comments :

  1. I could eat a whole batch of that shrimp all by myself! I love battered anything, but seafood has to be my favorite.

    My email is frugalantics at yahoo dot com.

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  2. My mom used to make beer battered shrimp when I was young (she doesn't fry anymore). She didn't know your trick for dealing with that curve in the shrimp. Very smart!

    Side note: I asked my mom about the stewed beans my great grandmother used to make. She used yard long beans (but they called them by another name which I wouldn't begin to know how to spell), started with a small amt of roux (naturally), sauted onions, etc, added salt, pepper, a little water, fresh tomatoes, and simmered forever.

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  3. You're absolutely right. Sometimes I want the tempura batter, other times I want something a bit more solid like this gorgeous coating you did, and other times, just steam it and give it to me with a little butter and garlic!

    I TOTALLY forgot about the football thing. I hang my head in shame. :(

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  4. you had me at beer bath

    And I really appreciate the fish fry mix. much better than just a few seasonings in flour!

    Great post

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  5. As much as I miss Pennsylvania sometimes, there is nothing like Gulf Coast seafood! Beer bath...mmmm

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  6. this looks fabulous Drick my Shrimp KING!

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  7. You're speaking my language again! Fabulous recipe and I could eat about a dozen of these babies right now! Yummm!

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  8. Oh heck yeah you gotta treat yourself to some fried fish every now and then! Or life isn't worth living.

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  9. Hey Drick, Where has this week gone? Oh that's right it's only Wednesday but it feels like Friday! Your shrimp look good, I've got to hide this from my husband;-)

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  10. Yes! You gotta love the tied and true recipes! So happy to see this!

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  11. ahh i missed the first football sumbit, went out of town, but I'll submit this week!!
    i love the fish fry mix and great tip for frying without curve.

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  12. Gorgeous shrimp recipe! Cake flour, would never have thought of this...brilliant!!!

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