Spicy. Buttery. Crispy.
There is no better couch chow than these firecracker shrimp for March Madness. Be sure to use Crystal brand hot sauce. It’s the best supermarket bottled brand around; it’s perfectly balanced between heat, vinegary tartness and peppery flavor. Plus, it’s available everywhere. If for some reason you can’t find it, make this recipe without it and use your favorite hot sauce instead. Then go online and buy some for your next batch.
Firecracker Shrimp with Blue Cheese Dressing
- 1/3 cup mayonnaise
- 1/3 cup sour cream
- 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped dill
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1/4 pound Maytag blue cheese
- 1 large egg
- 1/4 cup buttermilk
- 1 3/4 pounds shelled and deveined large shrimp, tails intact
- Vegetable oil, for frying
- 1 cup cornstarch
- 1/4 cup Crystal hot sauce
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- Celery sticks, for serving
Make the Blue Cheese Dressing
In a food processor, combine everything except the salt and pepper and puree until nearly smooth. Scrape into a medium bowl and season with salt and pepper.
For the Shrimp
In a large bowl, beat the egg with the buttermilk. Add the shrimp and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.
In a large saucepan, heat 1 1/2 inches of vegetable oil to 375°. Line a large baking sheet with paper towels. Spread the cornstarch in a shallow bowl. In three batches, remove the shrimp from the buttermilk mixture, allowing the excess to drip off, and dredge in the cornstarch. Add the shrimp to the hot oil and fry over high heat, turning occasionally, until golden and just cooked through, about 4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the shrimp to the baking sheet and season with salt.
In a large bowl, whisk the hot sauce with the melted butter. Add the fried shrimp and toss well. Transfer to a serving platter and serve right away with the blue cheese dressing and celery sticks.
Originally published in Andrew Zimmern’s Kitchen Adventures on foodandwine.com.
Photograph by Madeleine Hill.