Crunchy, bursting with flavor, and perfectly cooked on the inside - this Breaded Shrimp is baked, not fried. Healthier and even better than store-bought!
Now, I have to confess that I’m a bit of a scaredy cat when it comes to hot oil. If I MUST deep fry, it involves high pitched “ahhh!”s, my longest tongs, thickest oven gloves and glasses (I’d wear goggles but don’t have any). A total wimp I know (I’m really brave with other things, really I am!), but I think I was traumatized by a hot oil story as a child and have been terrified of it ever since. So I prefer to bake everything that might need a deep fry, and I will go to great lengths to achieve similar results.
I LOVE fried food in a big way. I love the crunch, the texture, the salty satisfaction of biting though a layers of batter, or golden brown bread crumbs, into something soft and delicious.
Why don’t I just buy breaded shrimp and throw them in the oven? Because they’re never as good as making them yourself. And once you make certain things yourself, there’s no going back.
The secret is this - I brown the crumbs first because the shrimp doesn’t need very long in the oven to cook, and no one wants rubbery, overcooked shrimp, right? Browning the crumbs in advance ensures that that part of the deal is already done, and the heat of the oven can just work on cooking that shrimp to perfection.
You can even go as far as to make your own breadcrumbs, which I do with the ends of bread I have stashed in the freezer. These are miles better (and far less processed) than any store-bought crumb. Once you’ve browned the bread crumbs, the rest is so easy, so delicious, and so wonderfully make-aheadable! xoxo Kirsty
Ingredients for 4 servings
1 lb. (450g) large shrimp, peeled and deveined, fresh or thawed if from frozen
1 egg plus 1 tablespoon water
1/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/8 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 cups breadcrumbs, homemade* or store-bought
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon butter
*If you’re making your own breadcrumbs, dry the bread that you plan to use (about 8 slices yields 2 cups) in a low oven at 300F (150C) for 30 minutes. Keep an eye on it! Blitz the bread in a food processor or blender until the crumbs are evenly sized.
Start by frying the breadcrumbs. Place a frying pan over medium-high heat, add oil and butter. When melted add the bread crumbs, stir to coat. Regularly stir around until the crumbs start to turn golden brown. This will take about 5 minutes. When browned to your liking, remove from the heat, put in a shallow bowl and set aside.
Prep your breading station. Whisk the egg and water in a shallow bowl. In another shallow bowl, combine flour, onion powder, paprika, cayenne, dry mustard, salt and pepper.
Line a baking sheet with foil and set aside. Preheat the oven to 400F (200C). Dip each shrimp in the flour mixture, then the egg mixture, and finally in the breadcrumbs, patting them down firmly. Place on the prepared baking sheet. Continue until all the the shrimp are breaded. You can make these ahead and refrigerate them until you’re ready to bake them.
Bake for 12-15 minutes, check if they’re done. Smaller ones will need less time than larger shrimp.
Serve with a spicy mayo (add a few squeezes of srirahca or hot sauce to mayo) or a fragrant aioli. Enjoy!