Buttermilk Cornbread Shrimp removes the oil factor from traditional fried breaded shrimp because it is baked in the oven. The herbed buttermilk cornbread coating on the shrimp is slightly sweet with a complementary slight touch of heat from ground chipotle chile peppers. This is a good alternative for those who love fried shrimp but are watching their cholesterol intake. The shrimp takes only about 15 minutes to cook, so have everything else ready to go!
If you are a chile-head, you might want to increase the chile pepper or add some hot sauce to the buttermilk.
Don’t skip the hour of refrigeration. It helps the coating adhere to the shrimp and the cold start keeps the shrimp from becoming overcooked before the coating is browned. High heat is used to promote browning while not overcooking the tender shrimp.
Buttermilk Cornbread Shrimp Recipe
1 small box (about 6.5 to 7.5 ounces) cornbread muffin mix, unprepared (see Notes)
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon lemon pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground chipotle chile powder, or to taste (may substitute chili powder or cayenne pepper)
1/2 teaspoon sweet Hungarian paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon table salt
1-1/2 pounds peeled jumbo shrimp, tail on or off as you prefer
1/2 cup buttermilk (see notes for substitution)
1 Tablespoon melted butter
1 Tablespoon olive oil, vegetable oil, or coconut oil
Cocktail sauce and lemon wedges for serving
Place the dry cornbread mix, onion powder, garlic powder, lemon pepper, chipotle powder, paprika, cumin, and salt into a zip-top bag. Seal and toss to combine all of the ingredients. Set aside.
Pour the buttermilk (or substitute) into a zip-top bag. Add the shrimp, seal, and toss to coat all of the pieces. Pour the shrimp into a colander to drain well.
Dip a handful of the drained shrimp at a time into cornbread mixture. Toss to coat. Shake off any excess coating mix and place side by side on a shallow, rimmed baking sheet (such as a jelly roll pan). When all shrimp have been breaded, place the panful of coated shrimp in the refrigerator and chill for 1 hour.
Preheat oven to High-Broil. Position the oven rack in the center of the oven. Line another 10- x 15-inch jelly roll pan with non-stick foil. Brush the foil with the butter and olive oil until evenly coated. Transfer the cold breaded shrimp to the greased pan. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until golden brown. (Watch carefully! Oven temperatures vary.)
Serve hot with cocktail sauce and lemon wedges on the side. May be used as an entree or appetizer.
Yield: 4 servings
• I prefer to use a cake-style cornbread mix, which is more flour-y in texture. Use what you like.
• If you don’t have buttermilk or cannot use it, substitute 1/2 cup whole milk, heavy cream, or half-and-half mixed with 1 Tablespoon lemon juice. Let sit for 5 minutes, then stir before using.