By far, one of the lamest party foods, in my books, is the basic shrimp cocktail ring. When I see one sitting out at a party, I always wonder why someone would waste valuable table real-estate on such a bland and boring dish. It wasn’t until during the last holiday season that I thought that there must be a way to improve the standard shrimp cocktail recipe to make it more appealing to cocktail party go-ers.
I took it to the drawing board and here’s what I came up with: Bangin’ shrimp and waffles with a Honey Sriracha Lime Dipping Sauce. This one will definitely turn heads. A crispy shrimp served upon a soft waffle with a perfect topping, a sweet and spicy “syrup”. I don’t know anyone who would turn down this appetizer.
Here is a waffle recipe you can use from my blog: Belgium Waffles
This year, I demoed this dish at my very first appearance at the TO Food & Drink Fest in Toronto. I was one of the featured Chefs at the Air Miles sponsored stage. It was a huge opportunity for me so I decided to make one of my most popular blog recipes and elevate it for the occasion. I added a Cajun aioli and it brings this dish to the next level just as I had hoped for. The demo was so much fun and it was wonderful to be back doing live food events with lots of amazing foodies!
There you have it – an old, boring dish made new again. The next time you feel the urge to pick up that shrimp ring at your local grocery store before a party, please consider making one of these re-invented shrimp cocktail recipes. Your guests will thank you.
Bangin’ Shrimp & Waffles with Honey, Sriracha and Lime Syrup & Cajun Aioli
- Total Time: 1 hour
- Yield: 50 pieces 1x
Yield: Makes about 50 appetizer portions or 4-6 meal-size portions
700g large raw shrimp (31–40 count), peeled, deveined tails removed
1 ¼ cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp Baking Powder
¼ cup plain yellow cornmeal
2½ tsp Old Bay Seasoning, divided
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1 large egg, beaten
½ cup whole buttermilk
Canola oil for frying
12 buttermilk or Belgian-style waffles
Honey Sriracha Lime Syrup
1/2 cup honey
2 Tbsp fresh lime juice
3 Tbsp Sriracha sauce
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
6 dashes sriracha or Tabasco sauce
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/4 tsp each: garlic powder, onion powder, salt, oregano, red pepper flakes
Add a pinch cayenne pepper for additional heat
Optional garnish: Micro-greens, or chopped cilantro or parsley.
Toss the shrimp with ½ teaspoon of Old Bay seasoning and set aside.
In a medium mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, cornmeal, 2 tsp seafood seasoning, garlic powder, and ground cumin and set aside.
In a separate bowl, whisk together egg and buttermilk and set aside.
Take 1/3 cup of the seasoned flour-cornmeal breading and pour over the shrimp. Toss the seasoned shrimp with the ⅓ cup of the seasoned flour-cornmeal breading.
Prepare a parchment-lined baking sheet. Dip each piece of shrimp in the buttermilk-egg wash.
Toss in the seasoned flour-cornmeal breading shaking off any excess and lay in a single layer on the parchment-lined baking sheet.
Heat 4 inches of oil in a dutch oven or heavy bottomed saucepan to 350°F.
Fry the shrimp in batches for about 2-3 minutes (depending on the size of the shrimp) until golden and crispy. Adjust the heat periodically to maintain the temperature of the oil while frying.
Prepare a paper towel-lined baking sheet. Use a slotted spoon to remove the crispy golden shrimp to the paper towel-lined baking sheet to drain. Repeat until all of the shrimp are fried.
Prepare your syrup by mixing the sriracha, honey and lime juice in a bowl. Whisk until incorporated and then funnel the syrup into a bottle or a bowl with a pour spout.
Prepare your Cajun aioli by whisking together the ½ cup mayo, 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice and 6 dashes hot sauce until it is incorporated and smooth. Add the ½ teaspoon smoked paprika, ¼ teaspoon garlic powder, onion powder, salt, oregano, red pepper flakes, and, if you want more heat, a pinch of cayenne pepper. Stir until it all comes together then funnel the aioli into a bottle or a bowl with a pour spout.
Toast your waffles until golden brown.
Appetizer Version: Cut each waffle into 2”x2” squares and use a cocktail pick to secure a shrimp to a waffle square. Continue until all of the shrimp are secured to a waffle square. Drizzle with Cajun aioli and then the syrup. Top with garnish (if using) and serve on a serving tray. Serve immediately.
Meal Version: Pile up 2 waffles on a plate, then pile on 8 of the shrimp, drizzle with Cajun aioli and then the syrup. Top with garnish (if using) and serve immediately.
- Prep Time: 30 mins
- Cook Time: 30 mins