Panko Shrimp with Lemon Pepper Aioli
A few years ago, my father came home from a trip down South and raved about an order of lemon pepper shrimp he’d had at dinner one night. He attempted to replicate the recipe a few times, but no such luck. Either the lemon taste wasn’t strong enough, or the black pepper taste wasn’t coming through…
While writing out my New Years Eve menu, I contemplated taking a stab at the lemon pepper shrimp myself – but then a light went on: lemon pepper aioli for dipping! There is no way that an aioli will lack in flavour. Not on my time!
You could batter the fish any which way you’d like, but I’ve always preferred panko bread crumbs. They offer a bigger *crunch* and go so well with shellfish.
You will need:
Aioli (this makes 1/2 cup)
- 1/2 cup of mayonnaise
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 tsp lemon zest
- The juice of half a lemon
- 1/2 tsp of freshly ground pepper, then more to taste if you wish.
Simply blend all of the above together into a smooth consistency.
- 2 lbs of frozen shrimp, uncooked and deveined
- Approx. 1 cup of beer batter mix
- 2/3 cup of cold beer
- Panko bread crumbs (eyeball the amount while tossing your shrimp)
I suggest raw shrimp over pre-cooked shrimp because re-heating pre-cooked shrimp will get you a rubber eraser texture with your shrimp. So, unless you’re into that, buy raw. Pre-cooked shrimp are great and convenient for shrimp cocktails, or shrimp served cold. That’s about it.
Peel the shrimps, and pluck off the tails. This isn’t necessary, but I like to just pop them into my mouth without worrying about the tail.
Now, how you’re going to fry your shrimp is entirely up to you. Mine were done in a deep fryer. If you’re going the deep fryer route, use your deep fryer’s instructions. A tip: when putting shrimp into the deep frying basket, have it slightly submerged into the hot oil and drop your shrimp in one by one (carefully). This prevents the shrimp batter from sticking to the frying basket, because it hits the hot oil first and solidifies before it even touches the basket. Again, be careful with deep frying. Know what you’re doing, or have someone with you who knows what they’re doing.
If you’re going the frying pan route, preheat vegetable oil (1/2 inch high) in the skillet on medium-high heat.
Toss your shrimp in with your beer batter, then toss them in the panko crumbs, and carefully drop them into the oil. Fry them for less than 2 minutes. Shrimp cooks quickly when simply pan-frying, so you can imagine how quickly it will cook when it’s being submerged into piping hot oil. Again, you want to avoid breaded rubber erasers.
When the shrimp is done, you can pat them down with a paper towel to get rid of excess oil.
Serve with the lemon pepper aioli, which gives it a nice and zesty kick!