Cracked Shrimp with Pineapple-Habanero Relish

Carla Hall’s take on Bahamian cracked conch yields tender, extra-crispy shrimp with the help of a rolling pin to flatten and tenderize the flesh. Hold the shrimp by the tail when “cracking” them to make sure the tail doesn’t separate from the rest of the meat.

Total Time:
1 hrs 10 mins


  • 2 pounds peeled and deveined tail-on raw large shrimp

  • Vegetable oil, for frying

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour (about 8 1/2 ounces)

  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch

  • 1 teaspoon paprika

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided, plus more to taste

  • 1 teaspoon black pepper, divided

  • 2 large eggs

  • 1/2 cup evaporated milk

  • 1/2 teaspoon finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, plus more for garnish

  • Pineapple-Habanero Relish

  • Lemon wedges, for serving


  1. Place shrimp on their sides on a cutting board. Holding shrimp by the tail and using a rolling pin or meat mallet, tap each shrimp lightly until slightly flattened (about 3/8 inch thick), 3 to 5 times.

  2. Pour oil to a depth of 1/4 inch in a large cast-iron skillet, and heat over medium-high until hot but not smoking.

  3. Meanwhile, whisk together flour, cornstarch, paprika, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in a shallow dish. Whisk together eggs in a large bowl until frothy; whisk in evaporated milk, parsley, remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon pepper.

  4. Working in batches, dip shrimp in egg mixture, allowing excess to drip off. Dredge in flour mixture; shake off excess. Add to hot oil, without crowding, and fry until golden and crisp, about 1 minute per side. (Adjust heat between batches to maintain temperature as needed.) Drain on a wire rack set inside a rimmed baking sheet; sprinkle with salt to taste.

  5. Transfer shrimp to a large serving platter. Garnish with parsley, and serve with relish and lemon wedges for squeezing.

    Cracked Shrimp
    Greg DuPree
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