In the mood for something crunchy and spicy I saw some shrimp at the market and decided to do a little deep frying. What came to mind was spicing the shrimp in a batter and to add the crunch I was going to use crushed Rice Krispies and flour instead of the usual Panko crumbs and cornmeal mixure I have used in the past. I like how the starch from rice flour works impeccably in making a really crunchy exterior on my recipe for THE Best Fried Chicken. I sauté these in a skillet instead of deep frying, a different technique I use for chicken tenders.
I recently purchased a 4-Piece Stove-Top Deep Fryer. One of my after Christmas sales purchases! Got to be smart about these things and not get caught up in the craziness of the advertising madness that is Christmas. You definitely get the better price, or the price you should be paying instead of getting gouged at the holiday prices. It’s perfect for everything from deep frying to candy making and is made of hard-anodized aluminum for even heat distribution. It comes with a stainless-steel wire basket that lifts and clips to the pot, which makes it easy to drain your finished food and sold me. The mesh lid is a great idea and reduces oil splatters and allows steam to flow out through the lid. It is constructed so well I had to have it.
The reason was I had an old pot I used that was too big, so I always used too much oil to get the depth needed. Plus it did not have this cool new wire basket, I used tongs and would fish items out of the bubbling oil. Also, when frying and dropping the food in, it would really splatter all over the stove top and create a bit of a mess, which limited me deep frying.
Deep frying food has a negative reputation as being greasy. Any food when properly deep-fried should actually have very little oil on it. It’s all about maintaining the oil’s temperature between 375° and 400°. Frying at the correct temperature seals the food, keeps the moisture in and makes for a crunchy exterior, not a soaked and greasy one.
OK, so for the shrimp, it needs to be cleaned, deveined and I wanted them butterflied so they were more open and cooked quicker. I think they make for a better presentation, too. Butterflying is a cutting technique used to make thicker foods thinner, and in the case of these shrimp, lay flat. So I took a sharp knife and cut the underside lengthwise almost to the back of each shrimp.
I was thinking of a spiced batter and opted instead for a wet/dry approach. For the wet mixture I used Sambal Oelek, which is a fresh, ground chili paste for the spice aspect. I’m not into this entire Sriracha Sauce craze and find this has a better flavor. Having buttermilk on hand I thinned that out a little with milk and whisked the three together. A nice, thick coating after dredging in my dry mixture first.
OK, because the frying is going to be quick I need to make my salad that we are placing the fried shrimp on. I tossed some washed arugula in a bowl with some dried cranberries, toasted and salted pepitas, freshly grated parmesan cheese and poured a quick balsamic and olive oil dressing over. Toss to coat and refrigerate until ready to plate.
So I had all my mise en plas set up. Mise en plas, pronounced [mi zɑ̃ ˈplas], is a French term which means “putting in place”, as in having all your ingredients set up properly (already chopped, skinned, mixed, etc.) for easy cooking or baking.
Here I have my butterflied shrimp, my wet mixture and dry dredge consisting of Rice Krispies, flour and black pepper that has been pulsed several times in a food processor to break down and create a crumbled dry coating.
So take each shrimp by the tail and dredge in the Rice Krispie mixture on both sides, then dip and do the same in the wet mixture, then back into the dry. Shake off excess and do enough for a small batch. I don’t like to do them all at once and have a gummy mess on my plate before dropping them in hot oil. Do enough per batch as you go, I did six at a time.
Make sure the oil is at 375°, you want to fry the shrimp, not allow it to be a sponge and soak up the oil! Holding on to the tail, gently lower the shrimp in the hot oil, be careful of splatter.
You want to fry things in small batches so it does not lower the cooking temperature. When food is greasy you know it is a sign of a bad cooking technique, not that deep frying is bad. I dropped six battered shrimp at a time until golden, about 90 seconds. When done lift out of the oil, shake excess off and place on baking sheet lined with paper towels. Sprinkle with kosher salt and keep warm.
Place a mound of the chilled salad on a plate and arrange 8 of the Spicy Fried Shrimp in Rice Krispie Coating on top of each plate and serve.
These shrimp have such a wonderful crunch on the exterior and the inside is super tender and full of flavor. Sitting on top of the cool arugula salad for a contrast in texture and this makes for a great dinner in minutes.
- 1 cup buttermilk
- ½ cup milk
- ¼ cup Sambal Oelek sauce
- 2 cups crushed Rice Krispies
- 1 cup flour
- 2 tbsp fresh cracked black pepper
- kosher salt
- 1 lb large shrimp
- Peanut oil
- Preheat oil to 375°.
- Line a tray with paper towels and set aside.
- In a bowl, whisk together buttermilk, milk and hot sauce.
- In a food processor pulse the flour, Rice Krispies and pepper until slightly coarse.
- Peel and devein shrimp leaving the tails on. Butterfly cut the shrimp. Lay flat and pat dry then dredge in the dry mixture first, then wet mixture and then the dry mixture again.
- Make sure the oil is at 375°, you want to fry the shrimp! Frying at the correct temperature seals the shrimp and makes for a crunchy exterior, not a soaked and greasy one.
- Deep-fry in batches, but do not overload the fryer, it will drop the temp of the oil. Fry until golden brown.
- Remove from oil with a slotted spoon and drain on the paper towel lined baking tray. Salt and serve warm.