Every­one loves shrimp. Instead of serv­ing plain cold shrimp with cock­tail sauce, why not mix it up a bit and make some­thing extra spe­cial? With only a lit­tle extra effort, you can pro­vide your guests with a shrimp appe­tiz­er they will remember.

When buy­ing your shrimp, get the fresh­est you can. Live shrimp are the fresh­est you can get; if you can­not get live shrimp, look for raw, whole, frozen shrimp. The shell pro­tects the meat from dam­age and dry­ing out. Feel the bag of shrimp. Do the frozen shrimp shift in the bag? If it is a sin­gle frozen block, put it down and walk away. This is a sign of thaw­ing and refreez­ing. While it may be more con­ve­nient to buy frozen shrimp that have already been peeled and deveined, don’t do it. You lose fla­vor and tex­ture by going the easy route. You can fig­ure that one pound of raw shrimp in their shells will give you about half a pound of peeled and cooked shrimp. If you must buy thawed shrimp at the gro­cery store, they only keep a cou­ple of days, so use them immediately.

Devein­ing is not real­ly nec­es­sary, but it looks nicer. In the case of larg­er shrimp, remov­ing this long dark strip (actu­al­ly the diges­tive tract) removes grit and dirt that you may be able to taste. Do your devein­ing before cook­ing. If you are stuff­ing the shrimp, you can do this when you cut the slit into the shrimp for stuff­ing. You can actu­al­ly devein shrimp while leav­ing the shell intact if you wish to make a recipe call­ing for shrimp in the shell.

Recipe for Stuffed Shrimp

What You Need
  • 1 pound 12–16 count shrimp, tails on, peeled and deveined
  • 6 ounces cream cheese
  • 3 ounces goat cheese
  • 2 tea­spoons dried oregano, divided
  • 1 tea­spoon car­damom or coriander
  • 12 tea­spoon salt
  • 12 tea­spoon black pepper
  • 4 ounces panko crumbs
  • 2 fresh eggs
  • 2 Table­spoons water or milk
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • Zest of 2 oranges
  • 1 cup cornstarch
  • 2 quarts peanut oil

How to Make It

Cut a slit down the back of each shrimp three-quar­ters of the way through the meat.

Mix cheeses, 1 tea­spoon of the oregano, corian­der, or car­damom, salt and pep­per until it is smooth. In anoth­er bowl, mix the panko with your remain­ing tea­spoon of oregano and some black pepper.

Whisk the eggs with the water or milk.

Stuff­ing the shrimp is eas­i­er if you use your fin­gers. Put about a table­spoon of the cheese mix­ture into the cut you made in each shrimp. Smooth out the top where the mix­ture comes out of the shrimp and let them chill in the refrig­er­a­tor for at least an hour to let the cheese mix­ture set.

Dredge the chilled shrimp in corn­starch, dip them in the egg mix­ture, and dredge in the panko crumbs.

Fry the stuffed shrimp in 2 quarts of hot peanut oil heat­ed to 365 degrees Fahren­heit in batch­es of 4 to 6. Use a mesh bas­ket to remove fried shrimp from the oil after about 90 sec­onds. Do not over­cook them.

Source by Chris­tine Szalay-Kudra