This is the simplest and best batter recipe. I use it at the restaurant all the time.
- 1 (8-ounce) bottle beer (recommended: Heineken)
- 1 (2-ounce) "shot" vodka (the cheaper the better)
- 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus a little extra, if needed
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- 1 clove garlic, peeled
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil 1 pound "16/20" size shrimp, peeled and deveined, tails attached
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 4 cups vegetable oil About 20 basil leaves, stemmed, washed and dried
- 1 lemon, thinly sliced
Pour the beer into a medium-size bowl and stir in the vodka. Slowly whisk in the flour and the paprika. The batter should be fairly thick, but also easy to stir. Set aside in a warm place. "Press" the garlic clove into another bowl and stir in the olive oil and shrimp. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Set aside. Pour the oil into a heavy-bottomed pot (or, alternatively, a deep-fryer). Heat the oil slowly to 370 F. Use a candy thermometer to monitor the temperature. Line a baking sheet with a kitchen towel or paper towels to drain the shrimp once they are cooked.
Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F.
Arrange the basil leaves on a sheet pan. Put the pan in the oven for 2 minutes, just to wilt the basil a bit, if the basil is young and tender this step is not necessary. Wrap a basil leaf around the middle of each shrimp like a belt. When ready to serve, dip the shrimp into the batter and drop, in small batches, into the oil. Fry until crispy, turning on both sides with a slotted metal spoon. Add the lemons into the oil and fry until crispy. Drain them on the lined baking sheet and season immediately with salt. Transfer to a serving platter and serve immediately.