I haven’t had a yummy shrimp appetizer in a very long time. Restaurant shrimp appetizers aren’t gluten-free. I ate plant-based for four years. And last year, when my diet changed because of migraines and Meniere’s, I found out that shellfish tends to be naturally high in sodium. If you can find unbrined shrimp that’s wild-caught, and you don’t eat too much of it, shrimp is healthy and high in protein. Plus it’s delicious.
While researching my migraine diet book, I learned that only 10% of the shrimp eaten in the U.S. is U.S. farmed or wild-caught. The other 90% comes from shrimp farms in Asia and South America, which have much lower environmental and farming standards. They might be contaminated with antibiotics (banned in the U.S.) or antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
Even U.S.-produced shrimp has issues: nearly all is treated with sodium bisulfite, sodium tripolyphosphate (which quadruples the sodium content), and/or Everfresh (4-hexyl-resorcinol, a xenoestrogen that may increase breast cancer risk if ingested at high levels).
Sustainably raised brands include Shrimper’s Pride, Dominick’s, and Wild Planet (canned). Look for the Seafood Watch logo to help you choose. Untreated raw shrimp has 119 mg sodium / 100 grams / 3.5 ounces, or 140 mg/4 ounces. I used frozen wild-caught Argentinian shrimp from Trader Joe’s, which is labeled as 160 mg/4 ounces.
I decided to do a play on popcorn or coconut shrimp, making this recipe grain-free.
I had to try more than eight different methods for preparing the shrimp to get the crispy coating I was hoping for. I tried baking, broiling, and pan frying, with a variety of coatings and timings. Finally we have a winner. (Note that the photograph is from one of the earlier methods.) The spicy cocktail sauce was adapted from a recipe in Real Simple I had pulled a few years back. It’s pretty easy; make it ahead so it can chill. Or you can simply whisk some chili pepper sauce or Sriracha into mayo for a quick dipping sauce.
reduced-sodium, migraine, gluten-free, dairy-free, paleo, grain-free, reduced-sugar diets
super-low-sodium, vegan, or vegetarian diets