Almond and Saltine-Crusted Shrimp
2 whole eggs
1 tablespoon almond extract or almond liquor
2 cups half-and-half cream
½ pound saltine crackers (2 sleeves of the elf’s favorite), divided
½ cup sliced blanched almonds, crushed in small pieces
2 cups of flour
24 shrimp, 16 count, shell removed, butterflied and deveined
1 quart solid shortening (Crisco)
In a small mixing bowl, combine the egg, almond extract and half-and-half cream. Whip until thoroughly combined. This is called an egg wash. In a food processor, place three quarters of the saltines and grind until smooth. Put the finely ground saltines into a casserole dish. Crush by hand the remaining quarter of the crackers and mix with the finely ground cracker crumbs. To complete the crusting, add the crushed almonds to the saltine mixture and mix thoroughly. The third element for the breading stations is a container for the flour.
The breading stations are now in place. First, take the butterflied shrimp by the tail and dredge through the flour. Try to keep the tail clean through all the stages of the breading process. Dip the floured shrimp into the egg wash mixture and then into the ground saltine-almond breading. Coat the entire shrimp with the almond crusting and set aside. Continue this process until all the shrimp are crusted.
In a fry-daddy or a large saucepan, place the shortening, no more than half, and bring to a medium-high heat. When the oil reaches 360 degrees, lower the heat to medium. If the oil becomes sluggish during frying return the heat to medium-high. Place the shrimp in the hot oil, a few at a time, keep separated and cook for about 2 minutes or until golden brown. Use a spoon to remove the shrimp from the hot oil onto a paper-lined platter. The paper will absorb any excess oil. Continue this process until all the shrimp are fried. After removing the shrimp from the hot oil, sprinkle with some additional almonds or salt, depending upon your preference. Serve the shrimp with a cocktail or Rémoulade sauce.
Measuring spoons and cups, mixing bowl, wire whip, large saucepan or fry daddy, slotted spoon and food processor.