Los Remos’ Shrimp and Seaweed Fritters

Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Medium

  • Serves

    4 to 5

    ; Makes about 20 fritters

Appears in

The Slow Mediterranean Kitchen

By Paula Wolfert

Published 2003

  • About

In the streets of Algeciras and Cάdiz, in Spain, these sweet and tender, thin and lacy tortillitas, made from a perfectly seasoned batter studded with live, thin-shelled, shrimplike crustaceans called camarones (Palaemonetes varians), were once a simple street food. The shrimp were pulled up in nets in neighboring estuaries, dropped into a chickpea flour-based batter, fried in olive oil, and eaten hot. Today they are a popular tapa everywhere in Andalucia.

The mecca for this fritter, or tortillita, is no longer found in the streets but at the Los Remos Restaurant in San Roque, a ten-minute taxi ride away from the port of Algeciras. The back story here makes for a wonderful tale of raggedy fish fritters to riches: Alejandro Fernandez Gavilάn and his wife, Nati, used to run a beach bar along the river where Alejandro’s fisherman father caught and sold his catch of the day. Now, fifteen years later, Alejandro and Nati run their restaurant out of a Victorian villa, proving that their “street dishes,” such as this delicious fritter, are worthy of serving on a white tablecloth.

Here’s an adaptation of Nati’s recipe.

Ingredients

  • ½ scant teaspoon finely crumbled dried seaweed
  • 2 to 3 ounces fresh camarones or peeled rock shrimp
  • 2 scallion(s) (white and 1 inch of the green), sliced
  • 1 garlic clove
  • Sea salt
  • ½ cup graham flour, toasted chickpea flour, or coarse semolina
  • ½ cup (all-purpose) flour
  • Olive oil, for frying

Method

  1. Three to 6 hours before serving, prepare the batter. Soften the seaweed in ¼ cup warm water for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, rinse and drain the shrimp. Put the shrimp in a food processor, add the scallion, garlic, and a pinch of salt, and pulse to a puree. Add the seaweed, soaking liquid, and both flours and just enough cool water to make a thin batter, about cups. Process until well combined. Scrape into a measuring bowl. Cover and refrigerate for 3 to 6 hours.
  2. Let the batter come to room temperature. To check if the batter is the right consistency, lift a spoonful; it should fall back into the bowl in a steady stream. If it’s too thick, thin with water. Heat the oil in a deep-fryer to 385°F. (The temperature will drop to 370°F when the food is added.) Dip a tablespoon in the oil, then into the batter. Drop globs of batter into the hot oil, 4 to 5 at a time. Fry the fritters, flattening each against the side of the pan into a cake about 2 inches round, until golden and crisp, turning once. Drain on paper towels. Serve hot.