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Gulf shrimp come in brown, white and pink. They are a warm water shrimp that have an earthier flavor than Atlantic. It’s a staple shrimp here in the South. Use whatever shrimp you have on hand. Leaving the tails on makes it easier to toss and drop the breaded shrimp.
My Cajun cayenne rub is simple but adds a lot of heat it’s mainly garlic, cayenne, black pepper, paprika and thyme with an addition of dill since it goes great with shrimp. The Cajun rub is seasoned both inside and outside the shrimp to really drive the flavor home.
Cornmeal adds a sweet crunchy crust to the shrimp. The yellow cornmeal also gives it its signature golden hue. Cornmeal is unbeatable when it comes to frying seafood.
Hot buttermilk is easy and requires no previous purchase of buttermilk. To make my buttermilk all I use is half and half since it’s a fridge staple for me and hot sauce .the acid in the hot sauce takes place of the white vinegar.
Keep the lime from the Cajun rub separately. Only combine them when finishing the dish. The fresh lime juice cuts through some of the fat of the fry. The lime zest really sends the lime flavor home and the juice plus crackling oil gives the seasoning something to stick to.
buttermilk for seafood has a different purpose than buttermilk for chicken. buttermilk for seafood is all about flavor, heat and getting something for the crust to stick to. buttermilk for chicken is all about tenderizing and breaking down muscle fibers. soaking the shrimp for a prolonged period can over tenderize the shrimp and start to change the texture. do not let the shrimp sit in the buttermilk for longer than a hour.
peeling and deveining the shrimp are essential. deveining the shrimp not only removes the waste from the shrimp it also leaves you with more surface area to get super crunchy shrimp. removing the tail is optional, although leaving the tail makes it easier to coat and drop the shrimp.
frying shrimp is really easy. You want to make sure your cooking oil is hot enough otherwise the breading will absorb the oil. don’t fry the shrimp too long once they are golden brown they should be good to go. Because of the sugar in the corn that’s in the cornmeal setting your fryer too high can burn the breading as well.
serve this dish however you like it. make it a player by adding hush puppies and fries , toss it on a baguette for a po’boy or serving it up with a smattering of dips like hot sauce, tartar, remoulade or cocktail. or serve it like my photo with fried sliced jalapenos and onions straws.