Calabash is a tiny little fishing town located in Brunswick County, NC. During my childhood, each summer we vacationed at Holden Beach, NC and we always made a trip to Calabash for fried seafood. I loved to order a seafood platter with a little bit of everything. The shrimp were always one of my favorites. I love the little itty, bitty popcorn shrimp, but when I make Calabash Shrimp at home, I typically use larger shrimp.
Calabash-style seafood has a light and crispy batter which really lets the flavor of the seafood shine. The key to getting a light, puffy crust on fried seafood is to use self-rising flour. The leavener in self-rising flour causes the batter to puff up and it makes a really light crust.
The batter is a simple mixture of self-rising flour, garlic salt, black pepper, and paprika. The amount of seasoning is perfect.
Calabash Shrimp Recipe Tips:
You can use whole milk instead of evaporated milk.
Peanut oil is best for frying seafood, but it is expensive and sometimes hard to find. Vegetable oil is a good substitute.
Shrimp cook very quickly. You only need to fry them for a few minutes.
Any size shrimp can be used for this recipe. You can also use this batter for fish, scallops, and oysters.
2 large eggs
1 cup evaporated milk
1 cup self-rising flour
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 1/2 pounds medium to large shrimp, peeled and deveined
Whisk together eggs and evaporated milk in a shallow bowl.
In a second shallow bowl, whisk together flour, garlic salt, pepper, and paprika.
Pour about 2 inches of oil into a Dutch oven. Heat to about 350 degrees.
Working in batches, dip shrimp in egg mixture and coat in flour mixture.
Fry until golden, about 2 minutes per side. Fry for less time if you are using smaller shrimp.
Don’t crowd the pan when frying. It will drop the temperature of the oil too much.
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