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Spiced Shrimp with Paprika Mayonnaise

In this crowd-pleasing finger food for a crowd, shrimp are sizzled in oil with paprika and cayenne and cumin and then served hot, hot, hot with a dip that’s sigh-inducingly cold.–Renee Schettler Rossi

LC To Peel Or Not To Peel? Note

You, dear reader, have a choice to make. You can choose to follow this recipe to the letter, leaving the shells on the shrimp prior to cooking them and, yes, gambling that some guests may be somewhat appalled to find a slight crunch accompanying their spiced shrimp hors d’oeuvre. Or you can rebel and instead invest a little time in peeling the shrimp prior to frying and spicing them, although you risk forgoing the insanely easy-to-achieve juiciness that the shrimp acquire when fried with their God-given protective coating intact. Which will it be?

Spiced Shrimp with Paprika Mayonnaise Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 35 M
  • 35 M
  • Serves 2 to 4

Ingredients

  • For the paprika mayonnaise
  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon sweet smoked paprika
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • For the spiced shrimp
  • 1/2 teaspoon hot smoked paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt flakes
  • 6 cups mild vegetable oil for frying
  • 1 pound 2 ounces small raw shrimp, peeled or unpeeled
  • 1/2 cup (2 1/2 ounces) potato or rice flour (or substitute all-purpose flour)
  • Lemon wedges, to serve

Directions

  • Make the paprika mayonnaise
  • 1. Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl, cover, and refrigerate until needed or for up to 24 hours.
  • Prepare the spiced shrimp
  • 2. Place the paprika, cayenne, cumin, and sea salt in a skillet over medium heat. Shake the pan over the heat until the spices are aromatic and nearly but not quite smoking and not remotely burnt, 2 to 3 minutes. Tip the spices onto a plate and let them cool.
  • 3. Place the oil in a wok or wide saucepan over high heat. The oil is ready when you sprinkle a pinch of the flour into the oil and it sizzles on contact.
  • 4. Have a bundle of paper towels ready to drain the cooked shrimp. Place about 1/3 of the shrimp in a colander or strainer, sprinkle with 1/3 of the flour, and shake so the shrimp are coated with flour but any excess has fallen off. Carefully add the shrimp to the oil and cook until the coating is starting to turn golden and the shrimp beneath are pink and cooked through. Use a slotted spoon to transfer them to the paper towels to drain. Repeat with the remaining ingredients.
  • 5. Pile all the cooked shrimp in a large dish, sprinkle with the spice mixture, and toss to coat. Serve immediately with the paprika mayonnaise and lemon wedges on the side. And don’t neglect to set out napkinsā€”lots and lots of napkins.
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