Here in Richmond, we’re lucky to have been spared the worst of Hurricane Florence. Earlier in the week, Florence’s path was supposed to curve up through central Virginia, so Richmonders did the mad dash to clear water and bread off of grocery store shelves, buy every generator available, and stock up on candles. I was getting gas on Tuesday and pseudo-patiently waited in line for about 15 minutes, since everyone else was getting gas too, only to pull forward when it was finally my turn and immediately get cut off by an elderly woman who laughed at me as she flipped me the bird. So that was ridiculous. But luckily for us and not so luckily for the Carolinas, Florence stayed south, so we’re just getting some drawn out gray days with a little more breeze than normal and on & off rain through the weekend.
Since it’s not really nice enough outside to do much of anything, but it’s certainly safe to travel in this area, we’re having a New Orleans style feast at Ally’s aunt and uncle’s house. Aunt Lori is making gumbo and cornbread, so we decided to make an appetizer that matched her theme. I think we all (sub-consciously or not), associate New Orleans with hurricanes since Katrina, so there’s that too I guess. Ally loves Emeril, so of course we turned to him for our appetizer inspiration. Crawfish beignets are a classic New Orleans festival treat, so we went with that – adapting our recipe from Emeril’s recipe for crawfish beignets, substituting shrimp for the crawfish, plus a few other little tweaks. Ours are a little spicier than Emeril’s too! If you were in New Orleans, you’d probably have these with remoulade on the side, but we decided to whip up a Lemon Aioli. Our Super Garlic Aioli would probably be delicious too!
As we were making and eating these, the question came up… Why are these beignets? A couple people remarked that they reminded them of the conch fritters you get in the Caribbean. So why aren’t these ‘fritters’? I googled it and literally the first line of the Wikipedia page on beignets says, “Beignet, synonymous with the English ‘fritter’…” So there we have it! These are beignets because they’re from French-Creole New Orleans!
Stay safe Carolina friends – we love you 🖤🖤🖤
- 2 tsp neutral oil
- 1 small red bell pepper, finely chopped
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 10 oz fresh shrimp, coarsely chopped
- 1 tsp salt
- 8 turns fresh ground black pepper
- ~3/4 cup green onions, finely chopped (white & light green parts)
- 3 eggs
- 2 1/4 cups flour
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 3/4 cup milk
- 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tbsp paprika
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 2 tsp cayenne
- 1/2 tsp dried oregano
- 1/2 tsp dried thyme
- Vegetable or peanut oil, for frying
- Heat the 2 tsp of oil over medium heat in a medium sized pan. Once hot, add the garlic and bell pepper. Cook for 3-4 minutes until softened a bit.
- Now add the chopped shrimp and season the pan with the salt and pepper. Cook for another 2-4 minutes with the lid on until shrimp have lost their translucency. Remove from heat.
- In a large bowl, whisk the eggs together. Stir all of the remaining ingredients, except for the flour (and the ‘oil for frying,’ obviously), and the shrimp mixture into that bowl. Add the flour last, stirring as you go. Add the last 1/4 cup slowly, stopping if your mixture gets too thick.
- If you have deep fryer, whip that out, otherwise fill a tall-sided pot no more that 1/3 full with oil. Heat to 365 degrees.
- Once oil is hot, drop dough by spoonfuls into the oil. Do this in batches – don’t over-crowd the pot! Fry for ~3 minutes until golden and crispy. Remove with a slotted spoon to a wire rack or a paper towel lined dish. (Try to maintain the temperature of the oil – if it’s too hot the outside will crisp (burn) very quickly and the inside will remain raw.)
- When cool enough to handle, enjoy!