Monday, May 27, 2024

Crispy Fried Shrimp and Giardiniera Recipe

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A vodka-and-cornstarch-based batter creates a coating that fries up gloriously golden brown, with a seriously crunchy exterior that gives way to tender bites of shrimp and tangy giardiniera. One cup of liquor might seem like a shocking amount, but it’s what makes the fry so intensely crisp. The alcohol in vodka won’t bind to flour to create gluten (the culprit responsible for chewy, cake-y fried batters and tough cookies) and evaporates a lot quicker than water. Once the shrimp and giardiniera hit the hot oil, the moisture in the coating starts to dissipate rapidly, transforming it into a puffy shell far lighter and airier than its water-and-beer-based counterparts.

Use vinegar-based giardiniera in lieu of oil-packed (a.k.a. Chicago-style) for the zippiest flavor. The extra pop of acid will cut through the rich batter and provide a welcome freshness, much like vinegar showered over fish and chips. Look for a variety of giardiniera with large pieces, as they are the easiest to batter. But don’t fret if there are some tiny bits; any pieces too small to batter can get chopped up and added to the dipping sauce.

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