Salt and Pepper Shrimp

August 5, 2008 | By | COMMENTS

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Let’s talk about shrimp, baby, let’s talk about you and me…

Ok, that was a Salt-N-Pepa joke. If you don’t get that joke, click here (I couldn’t embed it!)

Now then, salt and pepper shrimp. What are they? I’d never had them until I went to Brooklyn Fish Camp last week with Robbie Baitz. They are shrimp, fried with their shells on, and then dusted in salt and pepper. Hot from the fryer, you crunch through that skin and it’s like a perfectly cooked shrimp wrapped in a potato chip. To quote the Barefoot Contessa, “How bad could that be, fool?”

Normally when I enjoy a restaurant dish, I assume that it’s just something I could never master at home and sadly resign myself to only enjoying said dish at said restaurant. But, with salt-n-pepa shrimp, I knew that I had a recipe: Amanda Hesser writes about them in “Cooking For Mr. Latte” and includes a recipe from Pearl Oyster Bar (which used to date Brooklyn Fish Camp, but that’s another story.)

And there it is on page 61. Amanda says, “My friend Paula introduced me to these shrimp. They were served in a tangle, crisp and hot. I began peeling away the shells, burning the tips of my fingers, when Paula nudged my arm and whispered, ‘You’re supposed to eat the shells and all.’ Indeed.”

Indeed! So how do you make them at home? You need four ingredients:

* Vegetable oil or peanut oil

* Flour

* 12 Shrimp (medium-sized)

* Cracker Meal

That last ingredient may be the hardest to find, though I found mine in the grocery store right near the breadcrumbs.

Here’s what you do:

Pour an inch or two of oil into a deep saucepan, that way there’s no chance it’ll splatter. You’ll need a thermometer here, the kind that clings to the side of the pot. Heat the oil until it gets to 350.

Meanwhile, combine 1/4 cup of flour with 3 Tbs cracker meal. Dredge the shrimp in the mixture, shake off excess, and–once the oil’s at 350–drop in the oil.

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It’ll sputter and spatter but then it’ll get quiet and you want to fry until it’s golden brown, about 2 minutes. Drain on paper towels and “shower with salt and pepper on both sides of the shrimp.”

That’s it! If, when the shrimp are all used up, you still want to fry something, take a lemon, cut it thinly, coat in the same batter and drop in the fryer. It’s a nice lemony foil for all the fried shrimp you’re about to eat.

Now if only I could get that Salt-N-Pepa song out of my head. Let’s talk about shrimp, baby, let’s talk about shrimp…….

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Categories: Recipes, Snacks

  • http://www.blackcoffeeandadonut.blogspot.com Xani

    Love shrimp prepared this way! One thing that can make it even better is to use head-on shrimp (if you can find them). It sounds freaky but once you discover the deliciousness of shrimp heads, you’ll never go back!

  • Meghan

    I’ve been similarly enamored of Amanda Hesser’s CFML recipes— I got a hankering to make the salt-crusted shrimp during a storm, though, and didn’t want to leave the house for cracker meal.

    So I crushed up some Saltines. Tacky? Yes. But effective.

  • Meghan

    I’ve been similarly enamored of Amanda Hesser’s CFML recipes— I got a hankering to make the salt-crusted shrimp during a storm, though, and didn’t want to leave the house for cracker meal.

    So I crushed up some Saltines. Tacky? Yes. But effective.

  • Kelly

    I just read Cooking for Mr. Latte and loved it and all the recipes! I will have to try this recipe!

  • Kelly

    I just read Cooking for Mr. Latte and loved it and all the recipes! I will have to try this recipe!

  • Kelly

    I just read Cooking for Mr. Latte and loved it and all the recipes! I will have to try this recipe!

  • http://girlrobot.tv Ricky

    I thought shrimp shells were inedible? Though those shrimp look delicious, I still need some convincing before I start chomping on shrimp shells and shrimp heads. Blech.

  • AJK

    Shrimp shells are definitely edible, and yummy. I’m assuming you devein them before frying, though…? Right?

  • jbh

    Yum! Did you de-vein? That part kinda freaks me out.

  • http://www.kimberlybelle.com Kimberly Belle

    I love the idea of getting to eat the shells! When it comes to frying, I’m always wary of the cleanup required (small apartment–retains the scent of grease for days…), but this dish looks delicious. Convenience be damned! I wanna try these suckers.

  • http://mspirouette.blogspot.com Pirouette

    Yes, I got your salt-and-peppa joke. :) Simple yet effective recipe–I like! I know people have a tendency to criticize scavengers, but I tell you–something bad never tasted so good.

  • http://mspirouette.blogspot.com Pirouette

    Yes, I got your salt-and-peppa joke. :) Simple yet effective recipe–I like! I know people have a tendency to criticize scavengers, but I tell you–something bad never tasted so good.

  • http://mspirouette.blogspot.com Pirouette

    Yes, I got your salt-and-peppa joke. :) Simple yet effective recipe–I like! I know people have a tendency to criticize scavengers, but I tell you–something bad never tasted so good.

  • Chantalle

    Oh Man…

    I’m going to try these very shortly, there are a couple pounds of shrimp in my fridge that I’m dying to try this recipe on.

    Thanks Adam!

  • http://www.villabertolli.com/premiumpastasauce.aspx?sourcename=encourage&target=Cooking Matthew

    I always put my shrimp in a pasta, but never have time to make my own sauce. I just tried a new Bertolli that you just warm up and add it to any meal. Do you have any recipes like this?

    http://www.villabertolli.com/premiumpastasauce.aspx?sourcename=encourage&target=Cooking

  • luis

    Only issue with it is the cracker meal? what’s up with that? any kind of breading should work Adam. Isn’t that sort of a given????? Bread Crumbs, Panko, corn meal… if it works with cracker meal it should work with any other breading strategy out there… Just brought home a lb of shrimp and I am curious. Another big issue is that overcooked shrimp is tough as leather and not very appealing….Of course fat is good and fried fat is even better..??? I get that…

  • Angeline

    This looks very similar to a Chinese shripm dish that I really like that you also eat the shells. Whole shrimps (heads and all) are fried until the shells are crisp along with various herbs, the only herb I can identify is bay leaves. I’ll have to try this recipe at home one day.

  • http://tattoogourmet.blogspot.com/ Tattooed Gourmet

    I love shrimp. Where I live in Florida I can get them fresh off the boats when they come back in a lot cheaper than in any store. I will have to try this next time I get a couple pounds of shrimp.

    By the way thank you now that song is my head!

  • http://tattoogourmet.blogspot.com/ Tattooed Gourmet

    I love shrimp. Where I live in Florida I can get them fresh off the boats when they come back in a lot cheaper than in any store. I will have to try this next time I get a couple pounds of shrimp.

    By the way thank you now that song is my head!

  • S

    I always wanted to know if the shells should be eaten. It didn’t make sense that all of that tasty seasoning should be peeled away. I would just lick the seasoning off, peel away the shells and then eat the shrimp. I’ll try eating the shells when I make this but why not prepare the shrimp with peeled shrimp?