How to Cook Fantail Shrimp


Fantail shrimp, also known as butterflied shrimp, offer a succulent, sweet and tender note to any appetizer tray or main course. Shrimp are high in omega-3 fatty acids which can help keep cholesterol levels in balance. Coating fantail shrimp in fluffy panko bread crumbs gives them a light and crispy outer coating that perfectly complements the silky texture of the shrimp. Leaving the tails on makes fantail shrimp the perfect finger food.

Things You'll Need

  • Colander
  • Mesh strainer
  • Pie plates
  • Panko bread crumbs
  • Milk
  • Egg
  • Whisk
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Seasonings
  • Skillet
  • Oil
  • Tongs
  • Paper towels
  • Rinse your shrimp in cool water and place them in a colander to drain. Pull the legs and shell off, leaving the tails intact. Remove the vein that runs along the outside curve of the shrimp.

  • Poke the tip of a chef’s knife into the outside curve of the shrimp just above the tail. Slide the knife tip along the outer curve of the spine, deepening the groove but not cutting all the way through. Flatten out the shrimp with your fingers.

  • Fill the bottom of a pie plate with panko bread crumbs. You can use regular bread crumbs, flour, corn meal or fish fry mix but panko bread crumbs work especially well with shrimp because of their light and crispy texture.

  • Pour a small amount of milk into a second pie plate -- about enough to cover the bottom of the plate. Beat an egg into the milk with a whisk, blending the milk and egg until the mixture is thick and creamy.

  • Season the milk with salt and pepper to taste. You can also add other seasonings, such as ginger, chili powder, onion powder and garlic powder.

  • Dip the shrimp one at a time into the milk and egg and then roll them in the panko bread crumbs. Place the coated shrimp on a plate and set them aside.

  • Fill the bottom of a skillet with canola, vegetable or peanut oil. Heat the oil over medium-high heat until a bit of flour flicked into the pan sizzles and pops.

  • Place six to eight shrimp into the hot oil. Cook them for no more than one minute per side, and then turn them with tongs. Cook them until they are golden brown on both sides. Set the shrimp on a plate lined with paper towels to drain as they come out of the hot oil.

Tips & Warnings

  • Serve your fantail shrimp with a selection of dipping sauces such as ranch dressing, sweet and sour sauce and honey mustard dip.
  • Other options for cooking fantail shrimp are to: coat each fantail shrimp with beer batter or tempura batter just before placing them into the oil rather than coating them all at once, or the batter will not stick.
  • Or, dip wet shrimp into cornstarch before coating them with breadcrumbs, if you wish to avoid using milk or eggs.
  • Or, slide a small, thin skewer through fantail shrimp from side to side, brush them with olive oil and lemon juice and grill or broil them for 30 to 45 seconds per side, if you prefer not to bread them.
  • Do not use the same plates and utensils for raw and cooked shrimp to avoid cross contamination.

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