When shrimp meet hush puppies….
As I’ve mentioned before, I rarely fry anything. Me and a hot vat of oil just don’t get along. Every once in awhile, however, I get this craving for crispy battered objects and out comes the cast iron pan and the clip-on thermometer. Who doesn’t love fried shrimp…and who doesn’t love hush puppies? These Shrimp Fritters are a bit of both.
For people unacquainted with hush puppies – bless your unclogged hearts. Where I grew up, these tasty bits of fried cornbread are served by the basketful in barbeque and seafood joints. Some people make them sweet, some people make them savory – I like a little of both.
Friday nights have become our night for dining indulgence, and we try to have fun-food. Chicken wings, hot dogs with gluten-free buns, gluten-free pizza…yeah, not exactly 5 Star cuisine, but it feels like a reward for slogging through another work week. We enjoyed these fritters with two dipping sauces – one spicy mayonnaise-based sauce with Srichacha, and the other sweet honey butter. It was all good!
- 3/4 cup corn meal (organic if you can find it)
- 1/4 cup rice flour
- 2 teaspoons Old Bay Seasoning
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 sweet onion, finely chopped (about 1/4 cup)
- 2 tablespoons melted butter or olive oil
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon honey (more if you like ’em sweet)
- 1/2 cup milk (buttermilk would be best)
- 2 cups shrimp, coarsely chopped *
- sea salt/kosher salt and pepper, to taste
- Oil suitable for high heat cooking (I used grapeseed oil)
*Note: I used tiny pre-cooked tiny “salad” shrimp that I had in my freezer, but this should work with pre-cooked or raw regular shrimp, if chopped up.
In a mixing bowl, combine the dry ingredients. In a separate bowl (or large measuring cup), combine the milk, butter, egg, and honey. Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry and stir until just combined. Stir in the chopped onion, shrimp, and a pinch of salt and pepper.
In a deep fry cooker or heavy, deep pan, heat about 1-inch (at least) of oil to 350F. You want enough oil in the pan to “float” the fritters. When the oil reaches temperature, drop the shrimp batter into the oil by the spoonful. I cooked about 4 at a time – you don’t want to crowd them in or the temperature will drop and they will be greasy. Cook for about 2 minutes on each side, until golden brown and cooked throughout. Scoop out and drain on paper towels.
As you cook, try to maintain the temperature between 350F and 375F, and add oil if necessary between batches. You also will want to use a mesh strainer to scoop out any stray bits or foam so they will not burn and mess up your oil.
Serve hot, with or without sauce(s) of your choice.
Al Green Explores Your Mind is a masterpiece of Memphis soul, with “Sha-La-La (Make Me Happy)” and “Take Me To The River”, since redone by Levon Helm and more famously, the Talking Heads. These early albums of Al Green are classics…much like the Shrimp Fritters!