salt & pepper shrimp
This recipe is quick and easy. A go-to for us since everyone in the house loves them! You can eat them with the shells on or peel them after they're fried. The shells are deliciously crisp, embedded with salt and peppery goodness, and add a great texture. You can also go it Filipino-style and eat the heads too. Or not. The fried heads are amazing if that's your thing but everyone here just passes theirs onto my plate. Not mad about it.
Salt & Pepper Shrimp
¼ c vegetable oil
1½ lbs shrimp with shells on, deveined (heads on or off)
3 tbs cornstarch
1 tsp salt (I like to use sea salt but whatever you have is great)
1 tsp black pepper (sichuan pepper is typically used but any ground pepper will do)
cilantro and/or chopped green onion for garnish
1 fresno pepper, thinly sliced (optional)
Whisk cornstarch, salt and pepper in a bowl to combine.
Wash shrimp and pat dry.
Coat shrimp with cornstarch mixture on both sides, shaking off excess.
Fry shrimp in vegetable oil over med-high heat for 1 min per side. Work in batches so that you only fry one layer of shrimp in the pan at a time.
Drain on paper towel.
Served with chopped cilantro leaves and/or green onions sprinkled over top and add your favorite chilies if you want a little spice.
Thoughts on Salt & Pepper Shrimp
There are many variations of this dish depending on the region. This Cantonese version of Salt & Pepper Shrimp and this Taiwanese version of Spicy Pepper Shrimp that includes garlic, ginger and five spice and are worth trying depending on your taste.
I love the recipe above because it's simple, fast, and we always have the ingredients on hand. We typically eat salt & pepper shrimp with a side of rice. Although we don't usually dip the shrimp in anything if I can get my hands on some Calamansi, I'll add a calamansi-soy-garlic dipping sauce to the table (1 part calamansi juice, 1 part soy, 1-2 crushed, peeled whole garlic cloves).
For an easy tutorial on deveining shell-on shrimp check this out: