Southern-Fried Prawns: A Crispy Delight from the South
Southern-fried prawns, also known as Southern-style fried shrimp, are a mouthwatering dish that combines the succulence of prawns with the irresistible crunch of a well-seasoned coating. This Southern-inspired recipe offers a taste of comfort food at its finest. Whether you’re enjoying them as an appetizer or a main course, these crispy prawns will transport your taste buds straight to the South. Let’s get frying!
Ingredients You’ll Need
- 1 pound large prawns (shrimp), peeled and deveined, tails left on
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup cornmeal
- 1 tablespoon Old Bay seasoning (or your favorite seafood seasoning)
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (adjust to taste for spiciness)
- Salt and black pepper to taste
- 2 cups buttermilk
- Vegetable oil for frying
- Lemon wedges and cocktail sauce for serving (optional)
1. Prep the Prawns
- Begin by preparing the prawns. Ensure they are peeled and deveined but leave the tails intact for a convenient and eye-catching handle. Pat them dry with paper towels to remove excess moisture.
2. Create the Dredge
- In a shallow dish or bowl, combine the all-purpose flour, cornmeal, Old Bay seasoning, paprika, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, salt, and black pepper. Mix these dry ingredients thoroughly to create your flavorful dredge.
3. Soak in Buttermilk
- Pour the buttermilk into another shallow dish or bowl. The buttermilk will help create a tender and flavorful coating for the prawns.
4. Dredge the Prawns
- Dip each prawn into the seasoned flour-cornmeal mixture, ensuring it’s coated evenly. Shake off any excess dredge.
5. Soak in Buttermilk Again
- After dredging, place the coated prawn into the buttermilk, ensuring it’s fully submerged. This step will help the coating adhere better and create a crispy texture.
6. Double Dredge for Extra Crispiness (Optional)
- If you prefer an extra crispy coating, repeat steps 4 and 5—dip the prawn back into the seasoned flour-cornmeal mixture and then into the buttermilk again.
7. Heat the Oil
- In a deep, heavy-bottomed skillet or Dutch oven, heat about 2 inches of vegetable oil to 350°F (175°C). Use a thermometer to maintain the correct temperature.
8. Fry the Prawns
- Carefully place the coated prawns into the hot oil using tongs. Fry them in batches to avoid overcrowding, which can result in uneven cooking.
9. Cook Until Golden
- Fry the prawns for about 2-3 minutes per side or until they turn a beautiful golden brown and the prawns are cooked through. Be mindful not to overcook, as prawns can become tough if fried too long.
10. Drain and Serve
- Using a slotted spoon, remove the fried prawns from the oil and place them on a plate lined with paper towels to drain any excess oil.
11. Serve Hot
- Serve your Southern-fried prawns while they’re still hot and crispy. Optionally, provide lemon wedges and cocktail sauce for dipping.
Southern-fried prawns are a delectable Southern delicacy that combines the succulence of prawns with the satisfying crunch of a flavorful coating. Whether served as an appetizer, main course, or party snack, these crispy prawns are bound to be a hit with seafood enthusiasts and comfort food lovers alike.