My days at Georgetown were so wonderful in so many ways. I can’t believe how lucky I am to have created such strong, meaningful, and amazing life-long friendships during those four years. Often times, I’ll find myself reminiscing about those “good ol’ days” back on The Hilltop. One of my favorite traditions we had among friends was “Family Dinner Night.” My roommates and I would invite a handful of our friends- our Georgetown Family- over for dinner and wine and just an all-over great time. The crowd-favorite entree was easily fried shrimp. This recipe came from one of my roommates’ grandmother- we loved cooking these together! My roommate, Kelsie, and I would organize somewhat of an assembly line with our other friends and roommates to get the shrimp peeled, dredged, breaded, and ready to fry. Over the years, I’ve made a few tweaks to the recipe (mostly due to not having all the ingredients on hand when I was craving these shrimp), so I’m sharing with you the most recent version of the recipe that I made. Its a fun and easy meal to make and share with friends!
Best Fried Shrimp Ever (2 Servings)
16-20 Large-Extra Large UNCOOKED shrimp (I typically have a bag of shrimp in my freezer, but if you don’t have any on hand, make sure you buy them raw- otherwise, you’ll have overcooked shrimp on your hands!)
1/2 cup AP flour, seasoned with salt, pepper, a pinch of cayenne, and garlic powder
2 eggs, beaten with a splash of milk
1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
1 cup crushed crackers (The original recipe calls for crushed saltines only- no breadcrumbs. This way is simple and super tasty. I found myself without any saltines on hand, so I used Ritz sour cream and onion “chips”… they’re actually crackers… and they were a solid substitute! )
Vegetable oil (for frying up these bad boys!)
Cocktail sauce OR Tabasco Ketchup (yes, its a thing… and its glorious- Look it up!)
First, if your shrimp are not peeled and deveined, you have roll up your sleeves and clean those shrimp up. My advice is to buy the shrimp already peeled and deveined. In college, we used to take the tails off too- made for easier eating because you could just pop them in your mouth. However, I recently discovered that you should actually leave the tail ON because you can use the tail to hold on to while you dredge your shrimp (dip them in flour, eggs, then the breading). This will help you avoid the crazy giant breading balls we would always get on our fingertips from having to dip the shrimp all the way in at each station. *The more you know*
To crush up the crackers, I place them in a large ziplock bag and begin breaking them up using a pan, empty wine bottle, rolling pin… basically, you can get pretty creative here, but you want those crackers crushed up like bread crumbs. Once they’re crushed, pour the crackers onto a plate or tray and add the Panko breadcrumbs. Mix together.
Next, I dry off the shrimp, and place them in the same large ziplock bag I just used, and I add the seasoned flour. I seal the bag and shake it all up to coat all the shrimp evenly. Once they’re all coated in the flour, I grab a shrimp by the tail and dip it in the egg mixture (keeping the end of the tail, and my fingers, out of the eggs), then I bread it on both sides in the cracker mixture, and then I set it aside on a separate plate. I repeat this process with all the shrimp.
In a large, shallow pan, heat up enough oil to come up to about a half-inch on the pan. Once the oil is hot (med-hi), start frying your shrimp! I did mine in two batches because you have to be careful not to overcrowd the pan- it’ll bring the temperature of the oil down and could result in soggy or overcooked shrimp.
Once the shrimp start to turn golden-brown on one side, flip them over with a fork or tongs. The shrimp typically take no longer than a minute or so per side- they cook up fast!
Once they’re golden-brown on both sides, set them on a plate lined with paper towels to drain off the excess oil.
When you’re ready to serve, squeeze some lemon on them and plate with a side of cocktail sauce or TABASCO KETCHUP 🙂