A globetrotting coffee hunter and occasional playboy, Matt is a half-Italian espresso junkie who dearly loves his octogenarian mother—the woman who owns the century-old Greenwich Village coffeehouse where our series is set.
If Matt were going to cook a Mother’s Day feast for you (or your mom), my husband and I are pretty sure these Italian fried shrimp would be on the menu, and we’re happy to share his recipe.
May you eat with joy!
Cleo Coyle has a partner
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Italian Fried Shrimp
with 2 Dipping Shots
via author Cleo Coyle
Our readers have been asking for this recipe ever since they saw Matt cook it up in Holiday Grind. And here's why he does it...
Frustrated with the diet-conscious fare at a New York cocktail party, Matt is famished. But he has a plan. Abandoning his plate of leek-wrapped water chestnuts, he ducks into the hotel’s kitchen, pays off a line cook, and makes off with a bag of jumbo shrimp. He then heads home to fry up a batch of these babies for himself, his daughter, and his ex-wife, Clare Cosi.
Matt Allegro - Coffee Hunter
(in avatar form).
To see the animated avatars
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characters, click here.
Though Clare is no longer Matt's partner in marriage, she has agreed to be his partner in the coffee business—and he occasionally partners up with her in solving perplexing New York crimes.
As for the crime of ruining perfectly good shrimp, Matt’s recipe gives you some clues to avoiding disaster. Follow his tips and, with luck, you’ll have the same beautiful results as Matt.
which will feed...
2 people with big appetites, or
3 people with average appetites, or
4 people for appetizers, or
24 underwear models (they'll each eat half a shrimp and order more martinis)
Olive oil for frying (1/2 inch high in a large skillet)*
*Note: Because of the expense of extra virgin olive oil, it's perfectly fine to use a regular olive oil or light olive oil for frying. You can also mix the olive oil with a regular vegetable oil to get the amount needed for this recipe.
you've come to the right man.
You want the shrimp's groove (where the vein was) to be pointing up.
Run a knife lightly along this crevice, splitting the two halves a bit more but without slicing all the way through the soft, delicate flesh. Use your fingers to gently pry open the eager shrimp (think butterfly with open wings). Press firmly on that special spot (see photo) to flatten.
Place your flour in one bowl. Your eggs in a second bowl. Your breading in a third. Italians often add cheese and herbs to their breading and we Allegros are no exception. Mix the cheese and oregano into the pre-seasoned bread crumbs. (Yeah, I think that extra shot of oregano is superb with the seafood. You'll notice the bright, herbal aroma as you cook.)
BTW - If your bread crumbs are not seasoned, you will need to add more herbs and spices at this stage. Mix in oh, about 3 T. of your favorite Italian dried seasoning mix, which most spice merchants carry, including the ones who stock your grocery store's spice section.
Finally drop the egg-covered shrimp in the bowl of bread crumbs. Coat well, turning the shrimp and using the fingers God gave you to get those seasoned bread crumbs to hug as much of that shrimp surface as you can.
Once those breaded beauties hit the oil, you should see some hot tub action, yes, the oil should bubble like a fizzy Prosecco.
Fry quickly, about two to three minutes, flipping them in the process so both sides cook evenly. When golden brown, remove from pan and drain on paper towels, as shown below...
This is (admittedly) a tricky endeavor. You may need to decrease the heat a bit if your lovelies are cooking too quickly. Conversely, you may need to increase that heat if the temperature in your pan is dropping too fast. (There's a relationship lesson in here that transcends cooking, but that's another post.)
If you are making more than one batch (for a larger gathering--or those two-date evenings), hold finished shrimps in warm (200 degree F.) oven while you cook additional batches.
If you're cooking many batches, the oil will need to be replaced. When it becomes brown or full of crumbs, pour it out, wipe the pan and start with new oil. (And, yes, I see a relationship lesson there, too.)
Matt's Dipping Shots
Dipping Sauce and Sandwich Spread
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