This past Labor Day weekend, I was REALLY angling to go to this music festival in Cookeville, Tennessee – The Muddy Roots Music Festival. Lots of rockabilly and roots country/bluegrass, with a few of my favorites being there – Wanda Jackson, Wayne Hancock, Hillbilly Casino, and The Legendary Shack Shakers. But, with the million other things we have going on, we just could not make it happen. (Next year, I WILL be there.) To console myself, we bought several desserts from the bakery and I overindulged in fried foods and red wine. Not quite the same as being at the festival, but it was some good immediate gratification in place of it.
Cornmeal Fried Shrimp BLT’s with Old Bay Aioli
- 1/2 pound large shrimp, peeled, de-veined, and tales removed
- 4 slices thick cut bacon (or 6 if you have a tendency like me to shove one slice in your mouth and give one to the dog before you use it in your recipe)
- 1 large, beautiful tomato, sliced
- couple leaves lettuce
- 1 cup cornmeal
- 1/4 cup flour
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup milk
- vegetable oil
- Old Bay Aioli (see recipe below)
- 1 baguette, cut into 2, 6 inch sections (save remainder for something else)
Make egg wash for shrimp by beating eggs and then mixing in milk. Make seasoned flour mixture by mixing cornmeal and flour with some salt and pepper and a little bit of red pepper.
To fry shrimp, submerge them in egg wash. Remove, shake off extra, and put in seasoned cornmeal mixture. Shake off extra and line them on a sheet pan until ready to fry.
Add oil to a cast iron skillet until comes up sides by about a 1/2 inch. Heat on medium. When ready to fry, test for it to be at correct temperature by flicking a little flour to oil. If it starts frying up, it is ready to go.
Add shrimp to pan. Don’t overcrowd – fry it in two batches if neccesary. Fry one side about 1 – 2 minutes. Turn shrimp over with tongs and fry on other side for another 1-2 minutes or until nicely browned. Remove to a paper towel lined plate or sheet pan and give just a little sprinkle of salt.
In meantime, toast bread in over for just a few minutes at 300 degrees until nice and crispy. Cut down one side and open and flatten like a book. On one side of bread spread Old Bay Aioli, and layer with lettuce and tomatoes. On other side, spread more Aioli, and then layer with the bacon and shrimp. You are then ready to eat this very messy sandwich!
Old Bay Aioli
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- juice of half a lemon
- 1 cup olive oil
- 2 teaspoons Old Bay
In a food processor, put in egg yolks, garlic, lemon juice, and a pinch of salt. Process for just a couple seconds. With processor running, SLOWLY start pouring in olive oil through food processor chute. And by slowly, I mean (at first) one tiny dribble at a time. Once you have several tablespoons of dribbles poured in, the aioli should start coming together (looking thick, pale, mayo-like). At this time, you can start pouring it in more quickly. Continue until all poured in. This recipe makes more aioli than is needed. Save some for later. I made some extra into tartar sauce and made up some extra fried shrimp and slathered them with the tartar sauce (like I said earlier, I overindulged to compensate for my grouchiness of missing the music). For purposes of this recipe, take 2 heaping tablespoons of the aioli and mix it with 2 teaspoons of Old Bay.