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Seafood lovers across the nation rejoice on National French Fried Shrimp Day, December 21. The day is dedicated to, well, fried shrimp. This delicious dish is enjoyed by many, especially Americans. Shrimp is, not surprisingly, a seafood favorite among Americans as it is consumed more than any other seafood. French fried shrimp — no, it’s not French — is a recipe that simply refers to shrimp that has been deep-fried in fat, the same way thin strips of potatoes are deep-fried to make French fries. On National French Fried Shrimp Day, make sure to munch on this simple but crunchy American favorite!
History of National French Fried Shrimp Day
Humans have been eating shrimp since they have been on Earth, according to archeological evidence. Several sources argue that Ancient Romans and Greeks, in particular, were extremely fond of shrimp, called Squilla, and preferred it to other variations of crustaceans. The food writer Marcus Gavius Apicius shed light on the shrimp situation during the fourth or fifth century AD in his compilation of culinary writings. According to this ancient cookbook, Greeks liked to cook large shrimp and wrap them in fig leaves, while the Romans roasted them and drizzled honey over the top.
While the origins of French fried shrimp are yet to be confirmed, what we do know is that shrimp has a long history in the culinary world. Americans have probably been eating it at home for centuries since it was widely available from Southern waters in early America. However, shrimp didn’t create waves in American cookbooks until after the Civil War in 1865 when it became available in cans. Shrimp salad — whole shrimp piled up on lettuce with a mayonnaise dressing — became a popular delicacy, especially among women.
Variations of shrimp dishes broke out countrywide after the shrimp salad became a hot item on the menu. Shrimp cocktails became a staple at bougie banquets during the early 20th century. The recipe was quite similar to that of the shrimp salad, but with an extra zing. Instead of mayonnaise, a cocktail sauce was added, which was similar to oyster sauce, mixed with extra lemon or vinegar. Horseradish, Tabasco, or Worcestershire sauce could also be used.
Fried shrimp is also thought to have first appeared on menus during the early 20th century, but the breaded version did not gain popularity until after World World II ended in 1945. This is due to pre-cooked frozen shrimp entering the market and appearing on grocery-store shelves. Shrimp dinners became available across the nation, even in drive-ins, because it was a relatively cheap meal.
Today, the shrimp’s popularity has grown even more, and is the average American’s favorite seafood. More than 650 million pounds of shrimp are harvested by the United States per year, and another 200 million is imported.
National French Fried Shrimp Day timeline
The Roman cookbook “Apicius” — believed to be attributed to Marcus Gavius Apicius, a Roman gourmet and lover of luxury — narrates Romans roasting shrimp and glazing it with honey.
Mechanical harvesting of shrimp begins and the shrimp cocktail, a staple in American cuisine, is invented around this time.
The breaded version of fried shrimp becomes popular after World War II ends, due to pre-cooked frozen shrimp becoming available on the market.
Chicago stretches its appetite for fried shrimp to new proportions, with Lawrence’s Fish & Shrimp hosting their first Shrimp Fest.
National French Fried Shrimp Day FAQs
How do you make shrimp batter from scratch?
Beat egg and milk together, add 1/2 cup of flour and melted butter, stir well to blend. Mix another 1/2 cup of flour with salt, pepper, and Cajun seasoning. Dip the shrimp into the batter, then hold it up over the bowl, allowing it to drain well.
How long does shrimp take to fry?
Shrimp only takes two to three minutes to cook, depending on its size. Fry until it’s golden brown on the outside and opaque in the center. Stir-fry or sauté shrimp by preheating a pan over medium-high heat. Add butter, olive oil, or flavored cooking oil.
How do you keep fried shrimp crispy?
The best way to keep fried foods crispy is by simply placing them on a cooling rack set over a baking sheet. If you’re frying multiple batches, throw them into a low oven to keep warm as you continue frying extra food.
How To Celebrate National French Fried Shrimp Day
Well, eat shrimp
The number one thing to do on National French Fried Shrimp Day is to devour french fried shrimp and not feel guilty about it in the slightest! If you know how to fry it at home, do that, or go to your favorite restaurants that serve the dish. Bubba Gump, anyone?
Hold a shrimp feast
Rest assured, if the statistics are anything to go by, many of your friends probably love shrimp as much as you do. Consider holding a french friend shrimp feast or banquet in celebration of National French Fried Shrimp Day. Make it extra shrimpy by adding seafood decorations throughout your home, or hold an outdoor gathering if you have space. Decorate with fairy lights and make it a grand occasion!
Experiment with fried shrimp
Feeling a bit creative? Do you also love fried shrimp? Why not experiment with different flavors and recipes to add an extra zing to the day. There are loads of flavors you can try. Why not coconut fried shrimp with orange marmalade shrimp? Share your creation online or with friends and family who love shrimp!
5 Delicious Facts About Shrimp
Shrimp come in many sizes
A shrimp averages about six inches but the longest ever found was at 18 inches.
There’s a lot of species
There are over 128 species of shrimp, to be precise.
Butter and garlic
Shrimp that has been boiled or sautéed, usually in butter and garlic is called ‘scampi’.
Now that’s a lot of shrimp
Over five billion pounds of shrimp are produced every single year.
Some shrimp glow in the dark and some can even change from male to female!
Why We Love National French Fried Shrimp Day
It’s an excuse to eat fried shrimp
We know we are stating the obvious, but really, do we need a better excuse to eat even more french fried shrimp than we already do? Sit back, relax, and munch on the delicious and satisfying treat!
Shrimp are amazing
Yes, while you may be eating shrimp on National French Fried Shrimp Day, it’s also a time to appreciate how fascinating shrimp are as creatures. Despite having very small brains, shrimp actually show rather complex behaviors, according to research. They can also live up to 20 years in captivity.
Shrimp is good for you
Forget about the deep-frying part. That isn’t good for us every day. However, shrimp are relatively good for us to eat. They have high levels of omega-3 fatty acids and low levels of mercury. This seafood is also high in calcium, iodine, and protein!
National French Fried Shrimp Day dates