Photograph byStephen Kent Johnson Food Styling by Maggie Ruggiero

Crunch: Sound

Crispy Salt and Pepper Shrimp with Celery

Starters from Issue 12 - Winter 2018 – The Senses

There are certain sounds that are universally beloved. The sound of water in its many incarnations, from waves gently lapping against rocks to the steady staccato of rain against your car or apartment windows; a lover’s laugh; the crackling trail you make walking through autumn’s first leaves; and, of course, the gratifying crunch of sinking your teeth into something crisp and vegetal like an apple or celery. Our starter couples that crunch with another—quick-fried, shell-on shrimp—for a doubly satisfying effect.

serves 4

  • 2 ½ tsp coarse salt
  • 1 Tbsp coarsely ground black pepper
  • about 1 cup canola or vegetable oil for frying
  • 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup celery leaves (or, if your bunch doesn’t have enough, add parsley or cilantro)
  • ¾ cup cornstarch
  • 1 lb unpeeled medium shrimp
  • 1 lemon
  • 6 stalks celery, thinly sliced on the bias

  • 1

    Gently heat salt in a medium saucepan until hot and starting to toast, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a mortar and pestle or spice grinder, add pepper, and grind until medium-fine. Wipe out pan and return to stove.

  • 2

    Add just enough oil to thinly coat bottom of pan and heat over medium heat. Stir in garlic and cook until golden. Add celery leaves and cook until just translucent. Transfer leaves and garlic to a paper towel-lined plate. Wipe out pan again.

  • 3

    Stir ½ tsp toasted salt and pepper into cornstarch in a medium bowl. Cut along outer curve of shrimp shell and devein, keeping shells on.

  • 4

    Add enough oil to pan to bring up to ¼ inch and heat over medium-high until a crumb dropped into the oil sizzles. Coat half the shrimp in the cornstarch, shaking off excess. Cook without crowding until crispy. Drain on a paper towel-lined plate and keep warm while cooking remaining shrimp, adding a little more oil if needed. Season generously with toasted salt and pepper and toss with fried leaves and garlic.

  • 5

    Peel 4 generous strips of rind from lemon and cut into fine slivers. Place in a bowl and squeeze lemon juice over. Stir in celery and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Serve alongside shrimp.