Fresh shrimp are dry and firm. Fresh shrimp can be consumed immediately, refrigerated for a few days or stored in your freezer for use at a later date. Shrimp in the shell are called “green.” Allow about 1 pound of green shrimp, or ½ pound cooked shrimp without shells for three servings. In buying, a rule of thumb is that 2 to 2½ pounds of shrimp in the shell gives only about 1 pound cooked shelled shrimp, or 2 cups.
Shrimp may be cooked in the shell or unshelled, but the shells add considerable flavor. Shelling is easy before or after cooking. A tug will pull the body shell from the tail. De-vein shrimp using a small pointed knife or the end of a toothpick.
Never overcook shrimp. If they are fresh, drop them into boiling stock or water. Reduce the heat at once and simmer 3 to 4 minutes. Remove them from the heat before they curl up. Drain at once to prevent overcooking. To cook frozen shrimp, drop them frozen into boiling stock or water and then count the time from when the stock comes to a boil again.
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon smoked sweet or hot paprika
3 large eggs
1½ cups bread crumbs, or crushed crackers, or panko
2 pounds large shrimp, peeled, deveined, tails left on
olive oil or vegetable oil for deep-frying
salt to taste
In a medium bowl, stir the flour and the paprika together. Break the eggs into another medium bowl and beat them with a fork for 1 minute. Place the bread crumbs in a third medium bowl.
One at a time, dredge the shrimp in the flour mixture, shaking off the excess. Dip them into the beaten eggs, then into the bread crumbs, pressing to make the crumbs adhere. Place the breaded shrimp on a rack set over a sheet pan. When all the shrimp are breaded, transfer the rack and sheet to the bottom shelf of your refrigerator and let them rest, uncovered, for 1 hour.
In a deep kettle or electric deep-fryer, heat the oil to 350 degrees. Fry the shrimp, in batches if necessary to avoid overcrowding, for 2 to 3 minutes or until golden brown. Drain on paper towels, sprinkle with salt, and serve.
To add more flavor to the breading, add a pinch of one of these great ingredients:
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