As pretty as green gazpacho is—a tangy twist on the usual—what I enjoy most about this dish is the fried shrimp WITH the gazpacho. With any gazpacho! I ordered the two together in a Palm Springs restaurant years ago—a smooth, creamy gazpacho with a side of hot, crispy little rock shrimps, so fresh and sweet—and the two were thereafter married in my mind.
I think people assume that both gazpacho and fried shrimp are time-consuming to make but honestly, they’re both fast and easy. Toss ingredients in a blender, chop, taste, adjust seasonings, chop some more, perhaps go full-on puree…done. You have gazpacho.
And fried shrimp, at least the way I like them, with just a whisper of a crunchy coating, take no more time than sauteeing them.
I didn’t include it in this go-round, but the Grilled Corn Salsa I shared this time two years ago is a perfect gazpacho garnish!
Green Gazpacho with Fried Shrimp
1/2 lb. tomatillos, papery skins removed, rinsed
1 lb. garden-ripe green zebra tomatoes, cored and chopped
1/2 white onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 Tbsp. chopped jalapeno (or more to taste)
1 green pepper, chopped
1 cucumber, chopped
1 large ripe avocado
1/2 c. chopped cilantro or parsley (more for garnish)
2 tsp. cumin seeds, toasted and ground
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 c. cold water
freshly ground black pepper
freshly squeezed lime juice
Scatter whole tomatillos on a baking sheet. Broil until skins are blackened in spots (watch carefully), from 3-6 minutes depending on your broiler. Turn tomatillos over and blacken the other side. Set pan aside and let tomatillos cool for 10 minutes.
Add tomatillos, tomatoes, the rest of the vegetables, cilantro, cumin, oregano, Worcestershire sauce, water, and 1 tsp. of salt to a blender. Process until almost smooth. Taste gazpacho and adjust seasonings, adding more salt if needed, several grinds of black pepper, and freshly squeezed lime juice to taste. Leave with a bit of texture or process gazpacho until smooth. Refrigerate for 2 hours or longer. Serve in shallow bowls with fried shrimp garnished with fresh cilantro.
Serves 6 with gazpacho
12 large or 18 medium shelled, deveined shrimp
1 c. cornstarch
1/2 c. very finely ground Parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
peanut oil (or other high-heat oil; do not use canola oil)
Place shrimp in a colander and rinse with cold water. Spread shrimp on a few sheets of paper towels and pat a bit dry. Shrimp should be lightly moist, not bone dry and not sopping wet.
Set a large 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil to 1/2-inch deep and heat until hot and shimmering.
While oil heats, combine cornstarch, Parmesan, salt, and cayenne pepper in a large plastic bag. Add shrimp to bag, seal, and toss around a bit to coat the shrimp.
Line a baking sheet with paper towels.
Fry a few shrimp at a time until lightly golden brown on both sides, a total of 4-5 minutes, transferring fried shrimp to the paper towel-lined baking sheet as you go.
When all shrimp are fried, serve immediately with gazpacho.