Food prøn: Take-out edition

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After last week’s tea-baggage encounter, I was asking myself for the millionth time why I live on the Redneck Riviera (aside from an accident of birth). Well, the weather only sucks for a couple of months per year for one thing.

Also, the food is good, particularly the fresh seafood. Above is a take-out box of fried shrimp with a side of cheese grits from a local roadside shack, and damn, is it good. I wish I knew the secret of their batter, but the proprietors will not divulge it. If you have any particularly good frying batter recipes, please be forthcoming in comments.

Posted by Betty Cracker on 08/09/09 at 08:53 AM • Permalink

Categories: FoodRecipes

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In spite of my original 1955 kitchen having a built-in deep fat fryer (I jest you not) making it a time warp temple to frying cuisine, I do not actually fry at home.  Like Gulf Coast denizens everywhere, I get my fried shrimp fix outside the home.

Unfortunately, I had to swear off the deep-fried delicacies to keep my heart from exploding (not that bad, just didn’t want to get on lipitor).

Unfortunately, cheese, too, but I still break down frequently when it comes to cheese.

Good christ, do I love cheese.

Cheeeeeeeeese…

Second only to bacon.

Good christ, do I love cheese.

Me too, but I no longer eat it either.  I’ve stuck to that, but I have to admit that I do occasionally have fried seafood even though I shouldn’t.  I curse mightily the gods of the self-betraying digestive system—the ones I used to laugh at while gloating of my iron stomach.

We’ve got a neighborhood po boy shop run by folks who came here after Katrina and stayed.  They do the best softshell crab po boy.  Yeah, it’s worth it.

yummy

Mmmm. Cheese grits.

They may use some baking powder or cornstarch in their mix. It looks like the coating is very light.

Damn, drooled in my keyboard.

Good christ, do I love cheese.

I was a vegan for a little while, and I really missed cheese the most.  I go for weeks at a time without eating meat sometimes, so that wasn’t a problem, but not having cheese… Man, that was hard.

I really try to clean up my eating habits and could probably survive without my beloved pork. But not cheese.

If you ever want to make a trip out to Tallahassee, we can find you some damn fine road-side eats and some top-notch beers. Unfortunately I let my deep-fryer go a few years ago, so I ain’t in the batter game these days. I like to cut my batter with bread-crumbs though, it tends to make the batter stick better, in my opinion.

Based on my own experience working in a popular New England seafood joint, and 30 years devouring the deep-fried bounty of the Atlantic, I can tell you that the best battering is also the absolute simplest.  Those shrimp are most likely just dredged in some lightly seasoned (salt, pepper, paprika) plain all-purpose flour, with maybe a small bit of corn flour or maybe cornmeal (that can get a bit gritty).  If they have a slightly tangy flavor, or if the batter seems a bit thicker than what I’m seeing in the picture, they could have been soaked in buttermilk before the dredge, but I would say its nothing more complicated than that.

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