Tuesday, April 20, 2010

RECIPE - Fried Shrimp Meaipe (Camarão Frito à Meaípe)

There is a tremendous variety of shrimp available to purchase in markets, or to order in restaurants in Brazil. Large, small - farmed, wild - grey, pink - all possible types of shrimp are at hand at any time or any place. If one is speaking of the smaller varieties of shrimp (up to about 2 inches (4 cm.), head included), most times the shrimp will be sold and also served unshelled, with head attached. I've often seen the surprised/shocked look on the face of foreigners in Brazil restaurants when the waiter arrives with a platter of such shrimp served "au naturel".

These small shrimp are not only bought and served un-decapitated and in the shell, there are usually eaten that way, particularly with fried shrimp. Some Brazilians will remove the head before ingesting the shrimp, but just as many will not. Almost no one bothers to peel them - they are popped into the mouth and crunched up whole before swallowing. It is a cultural thing, of course, but many foreigner visitors to Brazil are reticent to try eating shrimp this way. Those that summon up the courage often find that shrimps eaten in the shell have much more flavor than their "nude" cousins, and that the shells of small shrimps are soft enough that chewing them is no problem.

If you haven't experienced shrimp this way, here's an easy recipe from Meaípe beach in the state of Espírito Santo. Just be sure to buy fresh whole shrimp, wild if possible, and make sure they are no bigger than about 1.5 to 2 inches head to tail. They make a great bar snack with drinks, hors d'ouevres, first course, or a light lunch.
RECIPE - Fried Shrimp Meaipe (Camarão Frito à Meaípe)
Serves 2

1 cup all-purpose white flour
1/2 pound (250 gr.) small shrimp, unpeeled but without heads- or 1 lb. (500 gr.) small shrimp, unpeeled, with heads attached
1 cup neutral vegetable oil
salt and pepper to taste
lime wedges
Put the flour in a large brown-paper bag, season with salt and pepper, then toss shrimp in the flour mixture.
Shake the shrimp to remove excess flour. Reserve on large plate or platter.
Heat oil in heavy saucepan over medium-high heat until hot but not smoking.
Add shrimp, in batches if necessary to avoid crowding, and fry until golden and crisp (approximately 3 minutes).
Drain shrimp on paper towels, test for salt, and then serve immediately with wedges of fresh lime.

Recipe translated and adapted from Cozinha Regional Brasileira by Abril Editora

1 comment:

  1. OMG do these look good. Can't wait to try them. Just found you and now you have a stalker. :-)

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