Saturday, July 11, 2009

Classic Southern Fried Shrimp

Gulf Coast Shrimp dusted with a light coating of seasoned flour and deep fried to crunchy perfection.
Gulf Coast Shrimp dusted with a light coating of seasoned flour and deep fried to crunchy perfection.

Classic Southern Fried Shrimp

We love our southern fried shrimp in this part of The Deep South and fried up in a deep fryer is the best way to go when you cook fried shrimp. A hot deep fryer cooks them so quickly, that there is far less absorption of the fat, leaving behind a crispy, crunchy and delicious fried shrimp.

The Cajun and Dad have been out shrimping a few times since the inland waters finally opened up, and while the catch has been fairly small compared to past years, there have been shrimp! And I have still been busy putting up shrimp - about 21 pounds and counting, but I'm just about done.

And y'all, I have to say, fresh from the Gulf shrimp simply scream out for some southern fried shrimp - so, yes, we have already had fried shrimp, not once, but twice. Hot from the deep fryer, crunchy and salty, I'm tellin' ya ... it just don't get much better than this folks!

Dad's got some traps too, so Mom also sent me over not 1, but 2 pounds of crabmeat, which frankly if I would have picked all those crabs, I sure would have had a hard time letting go of.

Have I mentioned how much I love my in-laws???

Since we are on the subject of frying, I have to say that I love love love using a deep fryer. I recently upgraded mine and I really love the features - larger capacity than my old Waring and this one has a filtration system where you can filter out and drain your oil, getting a lot more use out of it.

A deep fryer heats up super fast and foods fry really quick, so that there is no greasy residue, so I use it all the time now when I'm frying. Everything comes out quick, crisp, crunchy and delicious. Yes, you do have to contend with the frying odor, but unless that's very disturbing to you, it's not troublesome to us. I can't believe I waited so long to upgrade and this fryer was worth every penny. I especially love it for frying shrimp!

We love to eat fried shrimp right out of hand as a main dish, right along with some standard fare of potato salad, maybe a cup of gumbo, or other sides, but one of our favorite ways to consume them is as a po'boy. Here's how to build a shrimp po'boy.

First you gotta fry up those shrimp. Use this recipe... you don't need any other. Seriously! These are the perfect shrimp for a shrimp po'boy y'all. You won't find any better, promise.

Cut up some French bread into serving sizes, usually about six inches per serving unless you're really hungry. In South Mississippi we often use the thin, New Orleans style French bread, but here I'm using a standard French bread you can find at pretty much any deli.

I like to toast mine so I butter the insides and toast it in a skillet.

Slather on a little mayonnaise, or if you're feeling fancy, use some remoulade or even some Comeback sauce. Remember though, it's a po'boy - a very simple sandwich with a humble history and not intended to be too fancy, so mostly it's just good ole mayo down here and that's the way I like my shrimp po'boy. If you like your po'boy dressed, and I do, top that with a thick slice of tomato. I'm using some beautiful Creole tomatoes here.

Salt and pepper on the tomato and top with a little shredded lettuce. Throw some thin sliced dill pickles on too if you like!

Load it up with shrimp and I like to give them a generous sprinkling of some hot sauce myself, though some folks prefer good ole ketchup.

And there you have a delicious shrimp po'boy, South Mississippi style!

Now, you can eat them just like this, but in South Mississippi we like to return the whole thing to the pan - or use a sandwich press if you have it - and press it. This gives the bread a creamy interior and a nice crunchy exterior, but unlike New Orleans style, it doesn't crumble when you bite into it. We call this "dressed and pressed" here in South Mississippi. I hope y'all will excuse me while I dive into this one!!

I really do feel privileged to have a husband who goes out shrimping every year with his dad, so we get to stock up our freezer with fresh Gulf shrimp. But, even if you don't have that luxury, wild caught shrimp from America are available in your local grocery store. You just gotta look for the seal.

So, once again, please allow me the opportunity to soapbox and ask you to PLEASE stop buying that imported shrimp they sell in the grocery stores.

Our fishermen and women right here in the good old US of A are suffering because of these imports, and they really need your support. And besides Wild American Shrimp just tastes, well ... superior over the imports and isn't loaded with the vast chemicals that imports often are.

So, flip over that package and look for the country of origin. If it's not the United States, continue looking. Okay, off the soapbox now and on to the fried shrimp recipe!

Classic Southern Fried Shrimp

Classic Southern Fried Shrimp

Yield: About 4 to 6 Servings
Author: Deep South Dish
Prep time: 20 MinCook time: 15 MinTotal time: 35 Min
Gulf Coast Shrimp dusted with a light coating of seasoned flour and deep fried to crunchy perfection.


  • 1 pound (31-35 count) medium-large Wild American shrimp (preferably Gulf shrimp), peeled and deveined
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 tablespoon hot sauce
  • 2 cups self-rising flour
  • 1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning (like Slap Ya Mama)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon lemon pepper
  • Deep fryer filled with fresh peanut or canola oil


  1. Preheat the deep fryer or heat oil in a large heavy pot to 350 degrees F.
  2. Peel and devein shrimp, rinsing well. Pat dry with a paper towel to remove most of the water.
  3. Whisk together the egg, milk and hot sauce; add shrimp to mixture.
  4. Stir together the flour, Cajun seasoning, Old Bay, salt and peppers.
  5. Dunk the shrimp in the milk mixture, letting excess drip off. Dredge in the flour mixture and then to a colander set over a plate or tray. Let sit for a moment, then return the shrimp to the flour mixture a second time and toss around. Place back into the colander and shake well to remove excess flour.
  6. Fry in small batches (to avoid overloading the fryer and cooling down the oil too much), for about 3 to 4 minutes per batch, or until golden brown.
  7. Shake fryer basket and turn out onto a platter covered with paper towels. Sprinkle with just a bit of additional salt and continue frying the remaining shrimp in batches, refreshing paper towels as needed, until all are fried.


Cook's Notes: I use White Lily self-rising flour. Self rising flour contains baking powder, which contains cornstarch and gives a more crisp and crunchy result than plain all purpose flour will. For a little more zing, whisk in 2 teaspoons Creole mustard with the milk. May also use buttermilk for a thicker crust. A smaller count shrimp may also be used, just monitor fry time.

Variation: Use half self-rising flour and half all-purpose yellow cornmeal, crushed saltines, or cracker meal.

Air Fryer: Brands and wattage of air fryers differ. Be sure to keep an eye on the food the first time that you cook a recipe and adjust as needed. Preheat air fryer for 3 minutes at 400 degrees F. Dredge shrimp as above. Spray basket and shrimp with cooking oil and air fry at 400 degrees F in batches at 6 minutes each, turn, spray again and fry for 2 to 4 minutes longer. I recommend the EVO sprayer.

Air Fryer, Fried Shrimp, Gulf Coast Favorites, Lent Recipes, Main Dish, Seafood, Shrimp
Main Dish
American, Southern
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Posted by on July 11, 2009
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