Hands up, this isn’t a dish I’ve ever seen made in Catalonia – it originates from Cadiz on the other side of the country – but these crispy shrimp fritters are so good I’ve adopted them into my Spanish cooking repertoire.
I’ve used British brown shrimps here for their depth of flavour. I know they’re pricey (all that fiddly peeling someone else has done for you) but I’ve tried making it with imported king prawns, chopped and cooked from raw, and it’s just not as good. So I’ll apologise in advance to regular reader Margaret, who tells me she can’t source brown shrimps. (Margaret, I’ll post you some if you email your address!)
The recipe is from Elisabeth Luard’s brilliant little book written for Domecq, the La Ina Book of Tapas, first published in 1989 and still available second-hand for pennies.
The original recipe calls for 125g of shrimps but the packet I bought weighed 100g and I was too tight-fisted to buy two.
100g cooked and peeled brown shrimps
3 tbsp self-raising flour
1/2 tspn salt
6 tbsp water
2 tbsp oil
1/4 tspn sweet paprika
1 tbsp very finely chopped onion (spring onion is good too)
1 tbsp chopped parsley
Oil for frying
Sieve the flour and salt into a bowl and gradually add the water and oil, whisking until you have a thin batter. Stir in the parsley, onion, paprika and shrimps.
Heat 3cm of oil in a deep frying pan and when it’s lightly smoking, drop in tablespoons of the shrimp batter, a few at a time. Fry until crisp and golden, turning once. Flatten the fritters with a slotted spoon as they cook to make sure they’re really crispy.
Blot briefly on kitchen paper and serve piping hot with some lemon to squeeze over them and perhaps a lemon and saffron mayonnaise. They are good as part of a tapas spread, as a starter, or with bread and salads as a light main course.