If you were in Nashville Tennessee this Spring, sometime between the months of March and May, you may have noticed a distinct shortage of chicken. That’s because I was in town… eating all of it.
All of the chicken.
Nashville makes the best chicken. Fried. Roasted. Flamed. It’s all good.
One of my favorite bites of chicken came from Hattie B’s, where they fry very very spicy chicken and serve very very refreshing sweet tea. Pickled and white bread, too. Essentials for spice management.
I’ve spent the summer mostly not in Nashville. I’ve missed the chicken.
I miss the chicken so I fried some shrimp. It seemed like the New Orleans thing to do.
These fried shrimp are doused in hot hot hot Hattie B’s inspired sauce. Have some sweet tea, a cold beer, and a fire extinguisher at the ready. We’re talking fire-hot.
We’re going to double dredge shrimp and fry them crisp.
Milk, eggs, and hot sauce (Crystal, of course) are whisked together. In a separate bowl, flour and salt combine.
Not so bad, right?
That little bowl of spices up in the corner is what’s going to pack a big ol’ punch! Three tablespoons (!!!!) of cayenne pepper, brown sugar, salt, pepper, paprika, and garlic powder.
It’s the cayenne that’s going to get us.
We pick up the shrimp by the tail, dredged in flour, dredged in milk, and dredged in flour again. A few good shakes to lose the excess.
I placed the double-dredged shrimp on a wire rack before frying.
While the dredge is dredging, the oil is heating. Don’t even think about trying to make these shrimp without a fry thermometer. We need to know how hot our oil is. (You’ll notice that I make a lot of doughnuts so that thermometer will come in handy.)
Two/Three minutes in the fryer and taaah-daaah! Golden crisp shrimp. Don’t eat them straight-straight out of the fryer. The inside is fry-hot! Let me learn this lesson the hard way for you.
After all of the shrimp is fried we carefully ladle a bit of the hot oil (!!!) into a heat-proof bowl that contains all of our hot hot spices.
If you think we’ve gone mad… we have. This is SPICY!
The spicy sauce is whisked well and lightly drizzled over the warm shrimp. Serve with cold, sweet pickles. Serve with cold, cold beer. Serve with lots of paper towels. Serve to friends. Think of Nashville.
- 1 pound raw peeled and deveined shrimp, tails still attached
- 4 cups canola oil, for frying
- 1 cup whole milk
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tablespoon Louisiana-style hot sauce, I used Crystal because it's my favorite
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- scant 2 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 cup or hot frying oil
- 3 tablespoons cayenne pepper (yikes!)
- 2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- bread and butter pickle slices, for serving
- Pat dry the shrimp and arrange on a plate in a single layer and keep cool.
- To make the dip, whisk together the milk, eggs, and hot sauce.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour and salt. Set aside.
- Holding onto the shrimp by the tail, dredge the shrimp lightly in the flour mixture, then dip in the milk mixture, shaking off some of the excess. Dip the shrimp again in the flour mixture and shake off excess. Place on a wire rack over a rimmed baking sheet until all of the shrimp are dipped and the oil is heated.
- Place the canola oil in a medium saucepan with a fry/candy thermometer attached. Heat the oil to 350 degrees F.
- Set a wire rack on top of a rimmed baking sheet and set aside. Working in batches of five or so shrimp, gently lower the shrimp by the tail into the hot oil and fry until crisp, about 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the shrimp and let it drain on a clean rack.
- After the shrimp is cooked, make the very spicy coating. Carefully ladle frying oil into a medium heatproof bowl and whisk in the cayenne pepper, brown sugar, 3/4 teaspoon sea salt, 1 teaspoon black pepper, the paprika and garlic powder. The oil is HOT HOT and the mixture will be very spicy on the nose. Lightly baste the spice mixture over the hot fried shrimp and serve immediately; garnish with pickles.
- These fried shrimp are best the day they're made. Enjoy!