Shrimp recipes are a dime a dozen. Here are the best of the best.
In the vast sea of shrimp recipes, it can be a challenge to know which ones to try. Shrimp tacos can be prepared a million ways. Seafood chowder recipes are as numerous as they are inconsistent. And what do you do when you want a shrimp recipe that’s a little different than the same-old same-old? Here, five Eater editors have done the work for you, tracking down the best shrimp recipes we can find — from the old but still good standbys to the new greats.
Corn and Shrimp Beignets
Yewande Komolafe, NYT Cooking
If you say beignets three times in a mirror, chances are I will appear. Fried dough covered in confectioner’s sugar? Sign me up. But it was only when I made Yewande Komolafe’s corn and shrimp beignets that I realized how much I’d been missing by only pursuing sweet fried dough: beignets deserve a savory counterpart, too. Adjacent to Rhode Island-style clam fritters, these are perfect as a snack or full-on dinner. I had some trouble with the frying part, as is usually the case, but a splatter screen over the pot will save you from burns. In the end, the juice is worth the squeeze, especially when any kind of dipping sauce will do. I recommend something spicy, though — it will counterbalance the salty, sweet, and brine-y flavors of the beignets. — Dayna Evans, staff writer and editor of Eater Philly
Governor Shrimp Tacos
Pati Jinich is my favorite source for Mexican dishes, and I discovered these tacos when testing recipes for a blurb about her latest cookbook, Treasures of the Mexican Table. They’re easy enough to tackle on a weeknight while offering a real depth of flavor from ingredients such as chipotle, poblano, tomato, and Worcestershire sauce. I love how the pan crisping step makes them almost quesadilla-like, and I’ll take any excuse to add Oaxacan cheese to my shopping list. — Missy Frederick, cities director
Cajun Shrimp Boil
Samin Nosrat, NYT Cooking
The first time I had a Cajun shrimp boil, it was at a New York Chinatown restaurant, fresh off a bus from Boston, when I was 18. I was absolutely smitten: As a kid who grew up cracking Dungeness crabs every year on Christmas Eve, I have a distinct appreciation for grabbing seafood with my hands and stuffing it in my face, especially when it’s covered in garlic and paprika. It has been hard to recreate the charm of that first shrimp boil, but I’ve found this New York Times recipe has worked as a jumping off point. Kelly, a dear friend of mine with roots in Louisiana and Mississippi, has helped me fine-tune and save a number of Cajun-Creole recipes I’ve bungled (gumbo, in particular), but I have a specific memory of her salvaging a birthday shrimp boil I almost destroyed. She doesn’t play around with the salt — ”the water should taste unbearably salty,” in her words — and there must be a few shakers of Tony Chachere’s nearby. Pro tip: Boil it outside, if you can help it, or open every single window in your house with the hood fan on full blast. It should be spicy enough that the air will make you wheeze. — Brooke Jackson-Glidden, Eater Portland editor
Easy Seafood Chowder Recipe
I wouldn’t classify most chowders as “delicate,” but most chowders I’ve eaten don’t have the nuanced layers of flavor this seafood chowder has, which you build by making your own clam broth, cooking carrots and onions and fennel in it, and then adding white wine. This recipe is a great catch-all for whatever seafood looks good at the store, but I never skip the shrimp — cooking them for just a few minutes in that aromatics-infused cream ensures bouncy, slightly sweet shrimp that are my favorite bites in what is always a big bowl of perfect things. — Bettina Makalintal, senior reporter
Kung Pao Shrimp
J. Kenji Lopez-Alt, The Wok: Recipes and Techniques
It’s rare that a cookbook inspires in me a massive lifestyle change, but in the months since getting J. Kenji Lopez-Alt’s cookbook The Wok my partner and I have devoted ourselves to cooking our way through the book. We haven’t even made it to fried rice or noodles yet, but the kung pao shrimp was an instant hit. Kung pao shrimp is not even my normal order at most Chinese American restaurants, but Lopez-Alt’s technique of marinating shrimp in baking soda and salt to keep it plump and juicy is a revelation, and its seasoning of Sichuan peppercorns, honey, and Shaoxing wine creates a tingling, sweet sauce that I now want to eat with everything. Like many wok dishes, it comes together almost instantly, and is inspiring me to keep a lot more frozen shrimp around so I can make this a regular part of my diet. — Jaya Saxena, senior writer