Friday, July 19, 2013

Firecracker Shrimp Two Ways

by Ann
Firecracker shrimp served with a sweet chili sauce for the 4th of July
Firecrackers are the perfect icon for the 4th of July.  I found a firecracker-themed appetizer to prepare for the holiday party at my niece and her new hubby’s place a couple of weeks ago by going where I think most women go today for ideas – Pinterest.  The preparation method came from the blog Steamy Kitchen, but the marinade was inspired by the Pioneer Woman.  (Back to my post from a couple of weeks ago – Who needs cookbooks when a simple computer search brings you directly to great ideas from bloggers or recipe sites??)
For a "17th of July" meal I grilled some of the original smaller shrimp to put on salads.  Without the breading they are much more "firecrackery" tasting!
The concept is to marinate the shrimp in a spicy mixture, roll them in egg roll wrappers, fry them crisp, and serve with a hot chili sauce.  I swear that I had not fried anything for a least a year (really!), and yet here I am doing fried shrimp a couple of weeks following fried chicken.  Hmm…  I won’t let this become a trend because for as much as I don’t like the extra calories (they are reserved for wine consumption) I really don’t like the smell of oil that lingers in the air.
Marinade ingredients are simple - hot sauce, olive oil, pressed garlic, and a sweetener to balance out the flavors.  The first time around I used sweet chili sauce, the second honey.  Both were good.
Mix the marinade in with the shrimp and let marinade for at least 20 minutes.
Even though I knew I would not be serving these piping hot, my guess was that they would be good at room temperature, which they were.  My one complaint was that even though I only used half of an egg roll wrapper on each shrimp the breading was too thick for my tastes.  There must be different types or qualities of egg roll wrappers because since then we’ve had Thai food out that had much thinner skins.  I need to investigate.  When I learn about the nuances of wrappers I will certainly let you know!

When I was looking for marinade recipes, the beloved Pioneer Woman jokingly reported that she thought that there might be “millions” of recipes for this treat.  Although I didn't read quite that many, I would agree that there are lots out there, and most are pretty similar to one another.  Just add or subtract ingredients that would suit your family’s tastes.  To get the “fire” flavor a hot sauce is key.  At Sur la Table we use Sriracha in all sorts of recipes, so that’s where the heat for this recipe came from.

Here’s what I used for the marinade for about 40 jumbo shrimp:

3 T sciracha sauce
3 T olive oil
1-2 T sweet chili sauce or honey
4 pressed cloves of garlic

There were 22 egg roll wrappers in my package, so I could make 44 firecrackers.  Buying the shrimp proved to be a bit problematic in that the first batch I bought were raw, peeled, and deveined (critical), but the tails had been removed, and every fireworks-lover knows that there must be a flame end on the firecracker, so for overall effect the tails needed to be on – hence another trip to the store!  The first batch I bought were “large” (31-36 per pound) and when I compared their size to half an egg roll wrapper, they were too small, so at the next trip to the store I bought “jumbo” which were better sized for the task at 21-25 per pound.
To roll the shrimp in the wrappers they must be straight, which requires cutting some notches in the bend of the shrimp.
Wrap the shrimp as tight as you can, being sure to seal the edges with a cornstarch/water wash to act as the "glue."

The cornstarch wash is simply a tablespoon of cornstarch dissolved in 1/4 cup water.  Brush the edges lightly at the end of the rolling process and press to create a seal.
See why they needed to be tail-on shrimp?  (Looks like the one on the end lost his...)
Don't overcrowd in the frying oil.  Knowing that I wasn't serving them hot, I used a smallish pan and did several batches.
With some of the large shrimp I didn't use on the 4th I decided to get the marinade together a second time tonight to grill them.  The flavor was much more pronounced without the breading.  Delicious!  Spicy!  The honey helped mellow it out.

Quick and easy to grill.  I don't think it took more than two minutes on each side before they were done.
I wish preparing dinner was always that quick and easy...


  1. uh yumm! i'll have to give this a try one day!
    forgot to follow the last time I stopped by -

    xo your newest follower
    follow back if you want!