Crisp Shrimp Pancakes from Cadiz
Tortillitas de Camarones
In Cádiz, the shrimp are mixed into the pancake batter while still live and in their delicate shells. If you use ordinary shrimp, the intense marine smack and some of the crunch will be missing, but the pancakes are still a delight when prepared at home. These days, the original chickpea flour is mostly replaced by the coarse wheat flour used for coating fried fish (a mixture of all-purpose and semolina flour is a good substitute). For the pancakes to come out greaseless, the oil has to be very hot; for them to be crisp rather than spongy, it is important to quickly spread the batter out in the pan so it is as thin as possible.
• 6 ounces medium-size shrimp, shells and tails removed and set aside, shrimp chopped medium-fine
• Coarse salt (kosher or sea)
• 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
• 1/2 cup chickpea flour (available at Indian groceries), or 1/2 cup medium to coarse semolina
• 3 tablespoons grated onion
• 2 tablespoons minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
• Olive oil, for frying
1. Place the shrimp shells and tails in a small saucepan with 2 cups water and bring to a boil. Cover the saucepan, reduce the heat to low, and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool completely. Strain the shrimp liquid into a bowl and discard the shells.
2. Rub the chopped shrimp with a little salt and let stand while you mix the batter. Sift together the all-purpose flour, chickpea flour and 1 teaspoon salt in a bowl. Whisk in 1 1/4 cups of the shrimp liquid, setting the rest aside. Whisk the batter until it is fairly smooth. Add the onion, parsley and shrimp and stir to mix evenly. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate the batter for 2 to 4 hours. Let come to room temperature before frying.
3. Whisk 4 to 6 tablespoons of the reserved shrimp liquid into the batter, using enough to give it the consistency of medium-thin pancake batter.
4. Set a small rack over a baking sheet and line it with a double thickness of paper towels. Pour olive oil to a depth of 1/2 inch in a medium-size skillet and heat it over medium-high heat to 375°F - when hot, a piece of batter placed in the oil will sizzle on contact. Place a heaping tablespoon of the batter in the oil and immediately flatten the batter with the back of a spoon to form a thin pancake about 2 1/2 inches in diameter. Repeat with 4 more tablespoons of batter. Fry the pancakes until crisp and golden brown, 30 to 50 seconds per side, then using a slotted spoon, transfer them to the paper towels to drain. Repeat with the remaining batter, frying 5 or 6 pancakes at a time. (If you like, you can keep the finished pancakes warm in a 300°F oven until all the batter is cooked.) The pancakes are best straight from the frying pan, but you can also make tortillitas ahead and reheat them for 5 to 7 minutes in a 475°F oven before serving. Makes 20 to 22
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Source: Recipes © 2005 from The New Spanish Table by Anya von Bremzen. Featuring over 300 unique recipes, The New Spanish Table protrays the food and culture of Spain at its most vibrant. The perfect pairing for delicious Spanish wines! (Workman Publishing Co. Inc.)