Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Shrimp Boulettes - Deep Fried Shrimp Balls or Pan-Fried Patties {Boulette de Crevettes}

Shrimp boulettes, or bullets as my husband affectionately calls them, are a mixture of minced shrimp, potatoes and veggies, formed into patties or balls and fried, are great as a main dish, side dish and a favorite alongside a bowl of beans.
Shrimp boulettes, or bullets as my husband affectionately calls them, are a mixture of minced shrimp, potatoes and veggies, formed into patties or balls and fried, are great as a main dish, side dish and a favorite alongside a bowl of beans.

Shrimp Boulettes

Okay. I will admit it. Shrimp boulettes fried up this way is decidedly not the healthiest way to consume shrimp - you can see that just from looking at it! But... you know better than to come here for that anyway, don't ya?

Well, I gotta say, these little patties of fried deliciousness will make your tongue sing and that up there, well... that is the way they are loved the most down here. Shaped into small, flat patties, coated in flour or bread crumbs, and pan fried in very hot oil, they are a tonguegastic texture experience - crunchy on the outside, nice and creamy on the inside and loaded with comforty goodness.

Shrimp boulettes {pronounced boo-lets} are well loved around this part of the south. Some people make their shrimp boulettes with raw shrimp that has been finely minced or ground, but I much more prefer that the shrimp are at least slightly precooked personally. The shrimp is then mixed with vegetables, potatoes and seasonings, and either rolled into balls, a little more true to their name, or flattened into patties, a bit more traditional.

A shrimp boulette shaped in a ball and cracked open to show its deliciousness!
Either way, once mixed, they are then passed through a bit of flour, bread crumbs or even panko, though that is a much more modern approach and I happen to love the results. I personally love shrimp boulettes rolled into balls and deep fried, which cooks them faster - another reason to use slightly pre-cooked shrimp - and there is less chance of oil absorption.

Shrimp boulettes, or bullets as The Cajun calls them, are a wonderful Deep South tradition, and while I don't know if these are perfectly true to his New Iberia roots, they sure are pretty darned tasty. A lot of folks make them with fish, a favorite being gar fish. Serve them plain with a nice dipping sauce like Mississippi's own Comeback Sauce, or that remoulade sauce shown above, or pair them up with a nice piping hot bowl of Cajun White Beans with Rice. Like beef boulettes, seafood boulettes may also be fried and then dredged in a roux gravy, such as that used for gumbo, adding some of the trinity to the gravy.

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Recipe: Shrimp Boulettes

©From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish
Prep time: 20 min |Cook time: 15 min | Yield: About 40 balls


Shrimp Seasoning:
  • 1-1/2 pounds of raw small shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 tablespoon of canola oil
  • Sprinkle of Cajun seasoning (like Slap Ya Mama) {affil link}, to taste
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) of unsalted butter
  • 2 cups of chopped onion
  • 1 cup of chopped bell pepper
  • 2 green onion, sliced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon of chopped pickled jalapeno
  • Palmful of dried parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon of Cajun seasoning (like Slap Ya Mama), or to taste
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/2 cup dry bread crumbs
  • 2-1/2 cups of mashed potatoes (about a pound of potatoes)
Dredge and Coating:
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup of milk
  • 2 cups of self rising flour
  • Pinch of kosher salt
  • Couple turns of fresh cracked black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon of Cajun seasoning (like Slap Ya Mama)
  • 1 cup of regular or panko bread crumbs, optional
  • Canola oil, for frying

Heat oil in a cast iron skillet over medium high heat. Add shrimp in two batches so as not to crowd the skillet. Sprinkle with Cajun seasoning and stir fry, just until lightly pink. Remove and set aside to cool. Once cooled, process the shrimp in a food processor or mince fine and refrigerate until needed. Meanwhile boil potatoes, drain, mash and set aside.

Melt half a stick of butter in the same skillet over medium heat, add the onions and peppers and saute until they are just beginning to brown. Add the green onion, garlic, jalapeno, parsley and Cajun seasoning; cook and stir for about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and set skillet aside to allow vegetables to cool. Beat one of the eggs and add it with the bread crumbs to the skillet of vegetables, combining well. Stir in the shrimp and the mashed potatoes; mix well. Form the shrimp mixture into balls, about 1-1/2 inch in diameter - a cookie scoop is handy for this job.

Set up a dipping station, first, beating the other egg with the milk in a small bowl.  Then, in a pie pan, mix the flour with the salt, pepper and 1-1/2 teaspoons of Cajun seasoning.  Place the panko in another small bowl. Spray a baking sheet with non-stick spray to hold the boulettes.

Preheat the deep fryer to 365 degrees.  Dip the balls into the flour, then the egg wash, then the panko or bread crumbs. Set on the baking sheet. If you don't want to use bread crumbs or panko, simply coat all of the balls in the flour, then the egg wash and toss them back through the flour just before frying. Drop into the hot oil and fry until golden brown, about 4-6 minutes when coated with panko; 6-8 minutes with an all flour coating.  Transfer to paper towels to drain and sprinkle with kosher salt; serve immediately with a side of homemade remoulade sauce.

Makes about 40 balls, more or less.

Source: http://deepsouthdish.com/

Cook's Notes: Reserve the shrimp shells to make a homemade shrimp stock! You won't need it here, so strain, cool and freeze to use later. Can also form into patties if you prefer, but those should be pan fried. Leftover mashed potatoes work fine for this recipe too - just adjust your seasonings since they are already seasoned. Also good with ground fish - excellent for gar fish boulettes or balls.

Cajun Shrimp Toast: Prepare filling as above; set aside. Lightly toast thin sliced sandwich bread and cut off crusts. Add a layer of the filling on one side of the toast that is about equal to the size of the bread, pressing into the bread. Cut bread into squares, triangles or sticks. Heat 1-inch of cooking oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Place toast shrimp side down into hot oil and cook until shrimp is pink and cooked through. Turn and fry until browned on bread side. Place bread side down onto a rack over paper towels to drain. Serve immediately.

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©Deep South Dish
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Posted by on October 19, 2010

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