Hellooooo everyone, so thrilled to be back cooking for you guys again!! That maintenance mode page was so annoying – sorry and thank you for your patience!
I can’t believe Memorial Day is just about here. I know I say this all the time, but time just goes way too fast for me! If you happen to be cooking this weekend and want to kick off the unofficial let’s pretend start of summer in true casual, kick-back style then have I got a sandwich and side for you!
I made us what I would call my comfort food version of a shrimp po’ boy sandwich and the best onion rings EVER!
True, it’s not really a shrimp po’ boy sandwich nor a “comfort food”, in the traditional sense (according to the food experts), but regardless, this sandwich + onion rings will have you feeling quite comforted and very well satisfied the way a shrimp po’ boy would.
For lack of a better name, shrimp ’n slaw sandwich is what came to mind. But who cares about what we are calling this, let’s talk food …
Simply put, this is a delicious sandwich you must try — crispy shell coating delicately plump shrimp partnered with a good slather of tangy horseradish coleslaw, and creamy aioli (fancy french word for mayo-based sauce) all piled between some yummy toasted multi-grain bread BUT NOT WITHOUT the onion rings. You must go the extra mile and fry up the onions. You will thank me later. And don’t try to bake these either, it’s not the same. As much as I’m into nutrition, sometimes we just need to look the other way and fry away.
And be messy and drippy and eat with our fingers – I wouldn’t have it any other way …
well, unless you needed to impress the Queen of England or future in-laws, then maybe go with something else.
Now I’m not a big sandwich person, more of a toast-with-topping kind of gal (have you tried honey sesame seed butter with sliced banana, oh man) but this sandwich had me at every bite, as I wiped up my face in pure delight without any trace of greasiness. I talk more about that in my notes (thanks to Thomas Keller’s French laundry Cookbook – light & crispy frying ever since!).
To make life easier, I prepared many of the components in advance (aioli, coleslaw, and tempura).
The little tool here slices the carrot in julienne style (sold at Bed Bath Beyond or online)… and if you love coleslaw, like we do, make extra – it goes so well with grilled Salmon (troll-caught king salmon is back in season), burgers, veggie skewers, anything really. I guess I should also say that for onion rings, and fried shrimp … around here (with my 5 guys) larger portions are typical, go ahead and reduce or double serving sizes if needed. Either way the recipes are easily adjustable.
You can do all of this in one day, but no need to. The only thing that I recommend is to fry the same day, just before serving, otherwise you will have soggy fried shrimp and mushy bread.
Oh, and psst, guess what? I use the same batter for the onion rings. Yep, as crazy as it sounds, believe me, there is no trace of shrimp flavor in the onion rings.
Wait until you taste these onion rings. I’m warning you, they’re addictive.
Just about ready to eat …
Happy to be back after what felt like an eternity. Just when I thought my make-over would take a week, I discovered some glitch/viral stuff that I had to tackle. Good news: Battled the beasts with the help of my fabulous son (who also gave the site this make-over by the way!).
Teaser alert coming soon: Blackberry pie anyone? In the meantime, have a safe, fabulous, and delicious Memorial Day weekend!
- For the fried shrimp tempura:
- Note: You will need a candy thermometer to monitor oil temperature
- 1½ pounds jumbo tiger shrimp (I buy wild shrimp to avoid GMO’s), shelled and deveined
- 1 cup white rice flour
- 1 cup brown rice flour
- 1 cup arrowroot or tapioca starch
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons crushed black pepper
- 1½ cups sparkling water such as
- Grape seed or (non-GMO) Canola oil for frying (about 1½ quarts)
- For the onion rings (makes a large bowl full):
- 3-4 medium onions (I like to use sweet onions, like texas sweet or
vidalia), peeled then sliced slightly thick
- For the coleslaw (makes about 6 cups):
- 1 small green cabbage, thinly sliced
- ½ small red cabbage, thinly sliced
- 2 carrots, grated or peeled
- 3 tablespoons horseradish mayonnaise (I use a dairy free, egg free version by Veganaise brand)
- 4-5 tablespoons unfiltered apple cider vinegar (I use Bragg’s)
- 2-3 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1-2 teaspoons crushed black pepper
- 1 tablespoon xylitol (or raw cane sugar)
- For the aioli (makes about 1½ cups):
- 1¼ cup mayonnaise (I use Just Mayo brand)
- ¼ cup dijon mustard (I use Annie’s naturals)
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1 tablespoon horseradish (I use Bubbe’s brand)
- 2 teaspoons pickle juice (I use Bubbe’s)
- 1-2 teaspoons tabasco
- 2 garlic cloves (or 1 teaspoon pureed garlic paste or garlic powder work too)
- For the bread:
- 1 loaf Canyon Ranch
- Note: The shrimp should sit in the flour mixture for a few hours or overnight. Prep time of 4 hours includes 3 hours of tempura chilling time.
- For the fried shrimp tempura:
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, salt, and pepper (I just use a fork and stir until it looks combined). Toss all the shrimp (remember to remove shells and devein the black stringy stuff along the back of the shrimp) into the flour mixture. Mix well then chill in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours. When chilled, add sparkling water, stir well. It will be very thick, similar to pancake batter.
- Meanwhile, add oil into a cast iron dutch oven (like a la
creuset) or a deep stainless steel saucepan with a candy thermometer attached then set stove top heat to medium high and wait for the oil to reach 375-380 degrees F (190-195C). Ideal frying temperature is 350 F, once you add about 5 shrimp it will quickly reduce to 350 F - that’s the temperature we want to maintain during frying.
- When ready, push each shrimp into the bottom of the bowl where it’s thicker since the flour will tend to sink to the bottom after a while, then lift out and wait a second for any extra to drip back into the bowl. Immediately (and carefully!) add shrimp, one by one to the oil. They should be fully immersed in the oil.
- Do not overlap or crowd the pot, otherwise they will not crisp up to perfection. About 6 jumbo shrimp per batch. Cook for about 3 minutes. No need to turn over since they are immersed in the oil.
- Note: Do not add more shrimp yet! Wait for the temperature to come back up to 360 degrees F (182 C) because the tempura shrimp will cool the oil significantly and lower the frying temperature by 15-30 degrees, creating soggy, greasy food.
- Lift out using a spider spatula (looks kind of like a mesh strainer bowl attached to a wooden handle). Transfer to a
heat proofdish. Sprinkle a little kosher salt over each batch while hot so the salt adheres to it.
- Continue to cook in small batches until all are fried.
- To keep warm: Put in a 300 degree F (148 C) oven or toaster oven until ready to serve.
- For the onion Rings:
- Separate the onion rings (push out the small rings first to prevent breaking the larger ones) and add into the tempura batter after shrimp have been fried. Move the rings around to redistribute the thickened batter. If it has gotten too thick to coat, add a splash of sparkling water.
- When the oil temperature is back up to 375 degrees F (190 C), slowly (and again, carefully, it can splatter!) add one ring at a time until you have added enough to fill the pot but not overlapping them. Fry for about 2 minutes or until golden brown. Lift out, drain and transfer into a large bowl. Sprinkle some kosher salt. Repeat until all onion rings have been fried, sprinkling some kosher salt over every batch. Keep warm, if needed in a 300 degree F (148 C) oven until ready to serve.
- Shrimp and onion rings will stay crispy in the warming oven up to 30 minutes before serving. Longer than that could make it soggy.
- For the coleslaw:
- Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl and toss to combine well.
- For the aioli:
- Whisk all the ingredients until well blended or mix in a food processor if using fresh garlic (I used fresh garlic).
- To assemble the sandwiches:
- Toast the bread, smear aioli on each side, slather on some coleslaw and 4-5 shrimp.
- Cover, then press down gently and slice in half.
- Serve with onion rings and extra aioli on the side.
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