Joe’s Bebop Cafe Buttermilk Fried Shrimp

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A bunch of Chicagoans wrote to tell us they missed this spicy-good signature shrimp appetizer from Joe’s Be-Bop Cafe & Jazz Emporium (Navy Pier’s erstwhile, family-friendly jazz club.) Marinated in chili-spiked buttermilk overnight before being dipped in Cajun-seasoned flour and deep fried, these crunchy shrimp get extra kick from chipotle/cilantro/lime dipping sauce.

Makes 4 servings

Buttermilk Marinade for the Shrimp Ingredients

  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 Tbsp. plus 1 tsp Cajun seasoning (dry)
  • 1 1/2 tsps cayenne pepper
  • 1 lb popcorn (or larger sized) uncooked shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 bottle vegetable oil
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 tsp Kosher salt
  • Lime wedges

Chipotle/Cilantro/Lime Dipping Sauce Ingredients

  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 canned chipotle pepper in adobo sauce
  • 2 Tbsp chopped, fresh cilantro
  • Juice of one lime

Instructions

  1. In a shallow Pyrex dish or bowl with cover, mix buttermilk with 1 tsp of the Cajun seasoning and 1/2 tsp of the cayenne pepper. Add shrimp. Let marinate in the fridge at least 4 hours and overnight if you can.
  2. Heat oil to 360 in a deep-fat fryer, or, Dutch oven on stove-top. While the oil is coming up to temperature, mix flour with remaining Cajun seasoning, cayenne pepper and salt. One by one, remove shrimp from buttermilk, shake off excess marinade, dip in seasoned flour. Drop in to hot fat in batches of six or seven and fry for 2 to 2 1/2 minutes until golden brown. Remove to paper-towel-lined platter.
  3. To make the dipping sauce: combine all ingredients and blend with a handheld immersion blender, or, place in a blender or food processor to incorporate. Serve shrimp with lime wedges and sauce

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