Sunday, February 26, 2017

Piquant Shrimp Balls

Made with spicy seasoned shrimp and no fillers, piquant shrimp balls are the perfect Mardi Gras or party appetizer. A little dipping sauce with pickled okra completes the dish.

I feel sorry for folks who don’t grow up near an ocean. It’s not just that they seldom, or sometimes never, felt the sand between their toes or built dribble castles as children, but they also often missed out on seafood as a normal, typical dinner option. It’s saved for special occasions and restaurant meals. Which is a shame.

At our house, we eat a lot of seafood! Everything from fancy-ish main course recipes like Trout en Croute, Fennel Orange Cod en Papillote and Meyer Lemon Butter Sauce Prawns to appetizers like Mini Party Crab Cakes and Squid with Garlic Chili Oil, to down home favorites like Pan-Fried Fresh Sardines, Ceviche and Spicy Salmon Shrimp Burgers. Oh, and since it's Mardi Gras time, I should mention my Louisiana Barbecued Shrimp and Shrimp Creole! Those are just a drop in the bucket. I could go on but I think you get the point. These piquant shrimp balls are one of my favorites.

Making piquant shrimp balls is super easy! The secret to making balls with no fillers or egg is to use a food processor on half of the shrimp, then stir in the remaining shrimp, roughly chopped. Pan-fry the balls with a little olive oil for a golden exterior and your family and friends will be asking you to double the recipe next time. I promise.

Ingredients - for 2 dozen piquant shrimp balls
Good handful flat leaf parsley leaves and tender stems (pinch off hard stems and discard)
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
1-2 red hot chili peppers
2 medium cloves garlic
1 lb 2oz or 510g peeled, cleaned fresh shrimp
Olive oil for pan frying

For the dipping sauce:
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 tablespoon ketchup
1 teaspoon whole grained mustard
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne
1 small clove garlic, finely minced
1 hot pickled okra, stem end removed, finely minced (sub small cornichons or capers, if desired)

Make the dipping sauce by combining all ingredients. Store covered in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

Cut the peppers and garlic into pieces then process with the parsley and salt until finely minced.

Add in half of the shrimp and process until chopped fairly finely. You are looking for a chunky paste.

Use a sharp knife to cut the rest of the shrimp into four or five pieces, depending on size.

Tip the seasoned mixture out into a mixing bowl. Mix the cut shrimp well with the seasoned chunky shrimp paste.

Cover a plate snugly with cling film (this makes it easier to get the shrimp balls off the plate) and use a tablespoon to divide the mixture into about 24 pieces.

Dampen your hands with water and roll the pieces into balls and place them in a non-stick pan with a drizzle of olive oil.

Cook over a medium high heat with a splatter guard on top. Once the shrimp balls are cooked enough to be firm, turn them over and keep cooking, shaking the pan occasionally, until all sides are golden and the shrimp balls are cooked through. This takes just a few minutes.

Serve hot with toothpicks and the dipping sauce. Sprinkle on a little extra chopped parsley for color, if desired.


This week my Sunday Supper tastemakers are sharing their favorite easy Mardi Gras recipes. Whether you are hosting or attending a potluck, we’ve got you covered!

Sunday Supper Easy Mardi Gras Recipes


Main Dishes



Pin these Piquant Shrimp Balls!


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