Crispy Pan-Fried Salt & Pepper Shrimp with Jalapeños
Adapted from The Fishes & Dishes Cookbook (Epicenter Press 2010)
Crispy Pan-Fried Salt & Pepper Shrimp are deceptively delicious: Cornstarch coating keeps them crunchy and juicy, Chinese five-spice powder enhances their flavor, and pan-frying reduces oiliness. Serve with hot rice and greens for a well-balanced meal. Spot Prawns, also called spot shrimp, are Pacific Ocean shrimp. Those harvested from cold waters off the coasts of Alaska and British Columbia are sweeter than their warm water relations. Any variety of shrimp may be substituted for spot prawns.
1 pound shelled and cleaned large spot prawns, approximately 16-count
4 Tbsp. cornstarch, sifted
1 tsp. Chinese five-spice powder
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp. salt
3 Tbsp. olive oil, for frying
3 fresh jalapeño peppers, seeded and diced (1/8” dice)
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp. olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
Prepare Shrimp: Wash shrimp and dry it well. Put sifted cornstarch, five-spice powder, freshly ground black pepper, and salt in plastic or paper bag, hold the bag closed, and shake to thoroughly combine the ingredients.
Make Topping: In heavy frying pan, preferably cast iron, sauté jalapeños and garlic in olive oil, lightly seasoned with salt and freshly ground black pepper, until garlic softens and just starts to turn golden, about 2 minutes. Watch carefully, and stir regularly, to make sure garlic doesn’t burn. Remove jalapeño and garlic from pan to a plate and reserve; leave as much oil in pan as possible.
Cook Shrimp: Add 3 Tbsp. olive oil to pan used to cook topping and heat to medium-high. Put shrimp in bag with spiced cornstarch, hold bag closed, and vigorously shake to coat shrimp. Remove shrimp from bag, shake off excess cornstarch, and put half the shrimp in pan with hot oil. Fry undisturbed for 1 minute or until shrimp are curled and crunchy on bottom side. Turn over shrimp and cook for 30 seconds. If sides of shrimp have uncooked cornstarch, turn on end for 5 seconds and remove from pan to drain on paper towels. Repeat process with remaining shrimp.
Put shrimp on platter and sprinkle with reserved jalapeño-garlic mixture. Serve immediately.