One of my favorite beer pairings is a seafood taco with a crisp and refreshingly bitter American IPA. Spicy, fried and salty foods pair magically with hoppy beers. Why? The citrus and pine flavors in hops really pop when paired with salty and fatty foods, while the cooling nature of hops make them an ideal pairing for spicy food. Case in point: IPA-Battered Shrimp Tacos.If you don’t use beer in your frying batters, start now! Beer adds a certain je ne sais quoi to batters that makes them seem extra light and crispy. I’m also a fan of adding panko breadcrumbs to the batter for extra crunch. When it comes to the beer, I always recommend cooking with the same beer that I intend to pair with the dish.
IPA-Battered Shrimp Tacos
1 1/2 pound medium shrimp
1 1/2 cups Redhook IPA, or seltzer water
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
Vegetable oil for frying
A few soft tortillas (I like whole-wheat versions)
Taco toppings, like cilantro, tomato, shredded cabbage, avocado
Remove the tails from the shrimp, devein and clean.
In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the beer or seltzer, flour, cornstarch, salt, garlic powder and cayenne pepper. Pour the panko breadcrumbs into another bowl.
Dip each shrimp into the batter, then gently roll in panko to coat. Place battered shrimp on a clean plate.
Heat 1/2 inch of cooking oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the shrimp in small batches – I recommend six at a time.
Fry shrimp on each side about 2 minutes, until golden brown. Place fried shrimp pieces on a wire rack or paper towels to drain off excess oil.
Prepare soft shell tacos with shrimp and toppings of your choice and pair with a Redhook IPA! Cheers!
What’s your favorite spicy food to pair with a crispy IPA? Tell me in the comments below.