Growing up at the doorstep of the Chesapeake Bay gave me a deeply rooted love of seafood, the blue crab holding my heart in it's deep blue claws. Not far behind in the seafood love-fest was the shrimp. Quickly steamed in a special mixture of spices, a big pile of tender pink headless shrimp would tide us through the long gray winter months until spring and that first dozen crabs. But it wasn't until I had the head-on Salty Crispy Shrimp at my favorite dim sum joint that I realized there's a lot of flavor in those lovely shrimp heads.
I'm lucky enough to live in a city that boasts a large and varied immigrant population which translates into some amazing places to shop for all sorts of ingredients. One being big, beautiful heads-on shrimp. How best to showcase these beauties? The Culinary Godmother was consulted and a plan of action was set in place. Again, simplicity wins the day.
Deep fry the shrimp in some peanut oil, maybe 25 to 30 seconds a side but really until the shrimp just reach that pink shade of deliciousness. Quickly remove the shrimp from the oil and while they are still hot, sprinkle with your favorite spice seasoning. If you want you can shell your shrimp but I eat them shells and all. Make sure you suck the heads for all their tasty goodness. Simple prep, amazing, decadent goodness.Now...it wasn't all perfection. I did attempt to make from scratch lemony mayonnaise. Where's the picture of that you asked? When there's not a picture it can only mean one thing - FAIL. Yes my virginal attempt at mayo making was a disaster and a waste of good eggs, oil and lemons. I won't give up on successfully making from scratch mayo but just not while I've got those luscious shrimp waiting. Trust me if you can find shrimp with their heads, try them just once. You won't be sorry.