Salt and Pepper Shrimp are easy enough for a weeknight meal and fancy enough for a dinner party! The shrimp are tender and flavorful inside with a crisp salt and pepper crust. Lightly adapted from this Tom Douglas recipe.
1/4teaspoonSichuan peppercornsalso called Szechuan peppercorns
1/4cupavocado oilor other high heat oil
1poundmedium shell-on shrimprecipe note #1
1teaspoonseeded and minced serrano chili pepperor jalapeño
cilantro leavesfor garnish, optional
Toast peppercorns in a small, dry skillet over medium heat until fragrant and popping, shaking often and taking care not to let them burn. Transfer to a small bowl. Coarsely grind in a spice mill and then combine with kosher salt. Set aside.
Peel and devein shrimp. Place in strainer and rinse; drain well and pat shrimp dry with paper towels. Place in bowl and sprinkle cornstarch over; toss to coat.
Heat oil in a wok or large skillet over medium-high heat until nearly smoking. Add shrimp; cook for 2 to 3 minutes, tossing occasionally to cook evenly. Add garlic, minced chili pepper and peppercorn / salt mixture and toss until shrimp is coated and spices are fragrant. Serve garnished with cilantro leaves if desired.
Large shrimp will also work, but I find that medium shrimp often have better flavor and a firmer texture.
I love to serve these over a frilly but sturdy lettuce like frisée. And if you're making these in early spring, they're wonderful over fresh pea tendrils.