Initially, this column was titled “shrimp and grits.” When I sat down to begin typing, I realized one of my first columns featured a shrimp and grits recipe. Alrighty then, I’ll move on to a variation.
How about chicken and waffles? But it seems like everyone has a chicken and waffle recipe. What to do?
I mulled it over for a day or two. Then, while searching in the freezer for an unrelated-to-this-column ingredient, I spied a pound of frozen large Gulf shrimp and a box of frozen waffles. I believe everyone would have noticed the figurative light bulb hanging above my head — shrimp and WAFFLES! My recipe brain was off to the races.
I knew an ordinary waffle wouldn’t do, but how about a “pack some heat” cornbread waffle? Hold on ... what’s better with fried shrimp than hush puppies? A recipe was born: hush puppy waffles!
I had the Zatarain mixes in my pantry for the waffles and the shrimp batter, so I’ll reference their products for this recipe.
All in all, we enjoyed a new recipe that was flavorful and fun.
Cajun Shrimp with Hush Puppy Waffles
For the waffles:
— 2 cups Zatarain’s Hush Puppy Mix
— 1 1/4 cup ice water
— 1 tablespoon sugar
Combine mix, ice water and sugar in a mixing bowl. Refrigerate for 10 minutes. The batter will be thick. Preheat waffle iron and spray with nonstick spray. Spread batter evenly in the waffle iron and cook until the waffle is cooked through. Repeat with the remaining batter. This amount made two Belgium waffles. If you’d like, add a tablespoon of finely diced onion to the batter to truly mimic a hush puppy.
For the shrimp:
— 1 pound large shrimp, peeled, de-veined, and leave the tail intact
— Zatarain’s Shrimp-Fri mix
— 1/2 cup water
In a mixing bowl, combine 10 tablespoons mix with the water. In a shallow plate, add 1 1/2 to 2 cups dry Shrimp-Fri mix.
Dip shrimp, one at a time, into the wet batter, allowing excess to drip off each shrimp. Place the shrimp into the dry mix to thoroughly coat. Lay each battered shrimp on a wire rack while you batter the remaining shrimp.
Heat 1 inch vegetable or peanut oil in a large skillet, or 2 to 3 inches of oil in a heavy saucepan to a temperature of 350 degrees. Place 4 to 5 pieces of shrimp into the oil at a time.
Don’t crowd the pan, or the oil temperature will drop too quickly and the shrimp won’t fry well. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes per batch until the shrimp are golden brown. Drain on a paper towel-lined plate. Continue frying with the remaining shrimp.
For the sauce:
— 4 tablespoons honey
— 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
— 1 tablespoon hot sauce
— Zest from a half lemon
— Juice from a half lemon
Combine ingredients in a small saucepan over low heat. The longer the sauce is on the heat, the thicker it will become.
Taste, and add more hot sauce if you’d like. For a sweeter sauce, add more honey.
Top each hush puppy waffle with a few fried shrimp and drizzle on as much sauce as you’d like.
Laura Tolbert, also known as Fleur de Lolly, shares recipes, table decor ideas and advice on her blog, fleurdelolly.blogspot.com. You can contact her at facebook.com/fleurde.lolly.5, on Instagram and email@example.com.