Spanish Shrimp in Crispy Batter (Gambas en Gabardina)

Spanish Appetizer

(Gambas en Gabardina)


1 egg
½ cup water
1 cup flour
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
⅛ teaspoon saffron (or ¼ teaspoon safflower)
¾ pound jumbo shrimp (20-25 count, peeled and deveined)
2 cups oil (vegetable or olive)


deep fryer or skillet with tall edges

Serves 8. Takes 25 minutes.


Add egg and water to mixing bowl. Mix with whisk or fork until well blended. Add flour and salt. Mix with whisk until well blended. Add baking soda and saffron. Mix batter with whisk until well blended.

Add oil to deep fryer. Heat oil using medium heat. until a little bit of batter starts to dance in the oil. Roll shrimp in batter until they are completely covered. Shake off any excess.

Carefully drop shrimp one at a time into the hot oil. Do not let them touch each other. Let shrimp deep fry for 2 minutes they become crispy and turn golden brown. Remove shrimp with slotted spoon or regular spoon and let dry on plate covered with paper towel. Goes well with parsley and lemon wedges.


1) Shepherds use sheep dogs to move their flocks of sheep. No other animal does this job as well. Similarly, clover drovers use shrimp to corral their herds of clover. (An unattended clover is prone to wander off anywhere and get into all sorts of mischief.)

2) Four-leaf clovers are more than worth their weight in gold. For these clovers will provide good luck as long as you keep them on your person. (Take that genies, with your paltry three wishes.) So, four-leaf clover drovers employ shrimp in crispy batter. Culinary veterinarians tell us this is because the whole process toughens up the shrimp something considerable, making them more than a match for the wily four-leafers. Just like boot camp toughens up marine recruits.


– Paul De Lancey, The Comic Chef, Ph.D.

My cookbook, Following Good Food Around the World, with its 180 wonderful recipes, my newest novel, Do Lutheran Hunks Eat Mushrooms, a hilarious apocalyptic thriller, and all my other books, are available on

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