Italian Crouton and Mozzarella Crusted Shrimp

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I usually prefer my shrimp grilled 9 times out of 10 but the other day I got the bright idea to mix a few techniques together to produce my own version of fried shrimp.  These shrimp are better than restaurant quality and here’s the kicker…I used FROZEN precooked shrimp!  I can’t even imagine the next level of deliciousness that would occur by using raw shrimp.  You can do this recipe with raw or precooked shrimp.  I highly recommend raw, but at the time I only had precooked and it still yielded wonderful results.  If you are using the precooked, frozen kind it makes it much easier for you to make smaller portions if you need to.  That’s one of the reasons I always keep a bag of it in my freezer, they are separated!  On the flip side, if you are lucky enough to have fresh shrimp coming in at a local market, you can literally just ask for a numbered amount shrimp!

These shrimp are insanely crispy and flavorful.  Try them out for yourself! 🙂

Ingredients:

-20 shrimp (peeled to just under the last section of shell, picture below)

– Extra Virgin Olive Oil for frying,  enough to fill skillet 1/2 inch deep

Dry Bowl Ingredients:

-1 cup of Italian Bread Crumbs

-1/2 cup of Crushed Italian Croutons (crush with meat tenderizer in between to dish towels or in a food processor, pea size)

-1/2 cup Shredded Mozzarella (any shredded cheese will work)

-Crushed Red Pepper Flakes (1 shake)

-1/4 tsp Cajun Seasoning

-1/4 tsp Black Pepper

-3 tbs FRESH chopped Basil Leaves (game changer, dried just isn’t the same)

Wet Bowl Ingredients:

-3 eggs

-Tabasco Sauce (3 squirts)

-3 tbs All Purpose Flour

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Directions:

Heat olive oil in skillet to medium high heat.  Oil must be perfectly hot to fry properly.

Peel the shrimp leaving only the very tip of the tail, the part that looks like a fan.  Rinse shrimp in cold water and pat dry with paper towels.

Prepare your dry bowl by mixing all the ingredients listed under dry bowl. 🙂

Prepare your wet bowl by whisking eggs and Tabasco, while slowly adding in the flour.

Dip shrimp into egg mixture up to the tail then lay it in the dry mix bowl.  Cover the top of the shrimp with dry mixture and press into the bowl making sure both sides get breaded.

Carefully slip shrimp 5 at a time into the hot oil so that they are laying flat on one side.  Let shrimp fry on the first side for about 2 minutes, then flip each one over using tongs for another 2 minutes.  Your breading should be golden.  Cooking time can vary, so test one out first to be sure.  Place shrimp on paper towels to get rid of excess oil after being fried.

Best served immediately with cocktail sauce.

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