Before you start your shrimp, make your cocktail sauce so the flavors can blend. This is a Louisiana classic, but here’s my low salt version:
- 1 cup Heinz Salt Free Ketchup
- 2 tablespoons Salt Free Dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoons reduced sodium Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tablespoons prepared horseradish (more or less to taste)
- 4-5 dashes Tabasco sauce (more or less to taste)
Stir all ingredient together and refrigerate
Now, prepare your shrimp. This can be done earlier in the day if you wish, as long as you have space to refrigerate the shrimp on baking sheets.
Drain, rinse, and pat your shrimp dry on paper towels. Place them in a large ziploc bag or clean paper bag with about 1/2 cup of all purpose flour. Shake to coat.
In a blender or food processor, pulverize one sleeve of unsalted-top saltines until they are the consistency of cornmeal. Repeat with another sleeve.
In a bowl, beat 3 eggs.
Cover a baking pan or cookie sheet with waxed paper or paper towels.
Working a few at a time, dunk the flour covered shrimp into the egg, and then toss into the cracker crumbs. Coat all sides with crumbs and transfer to the prepared pan. Repeat until all shrimp are coated.
It is impossible to bread the shrimp without breading your fingers as well, so work near the sink and rinse them often!
Once the shrimp are all breaded, deep fry them in batches at 350 degrees, for about 2-3 minutes, until the cracker crumbs are golden brown.
Drain on clean paper towels and serve hot!
I once asked Momma G why she used crackers to bread her shrimp, and she told me “because that’s how my momma taught me to do it, and because they taste good!” I certainly couldn’t argue with that, but now that I am older, and wiser, and have sample many, many, MANY fried shrimp over the course of my lifetime, I can tell you why these are far and away the best fried shrimp in the world!
But first, consider the other contenders. Many people fry their shrimp in cornmeal. Cornmeal has oil in it, so anything fried in it will become more oily. Plus, cornmeal has a distinct “corny” flavor that competes with the taste of delicious Gulf shrimp!
Battered shrimp are iffy. Some batters don’t stick well. Some batters overpower the shrimp. Some batters absorb too much grease. And worst of all, many batters don’t cook quickly enough. If you cook them long enough to cook the batter through, the shrimp get rubbery. And if you protect the shrimp with a short cooking time, you risk having raw, wet batter in the interior. Quelle dommage!
These shrimp are perfect every time, because crackers are already cooked! The morsels only need to be cooked long enough to brown the crackers slightly; about the same amount of time it takes to cook the shrimp. Because they are already cooked, they don’t absorb as much oil. And because they are already cooked, there is never a “raw” center!