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Rock Shrimp: Half Lobster, Half Prawn, All Delicious

You eat the tasty little crustaceans all the time, but did you know there are different types of them? Rock shrimp in particular is a popular type, found at classier restaurants. Broiled shrimp is common, but when you're sick of broiling them or eating shrimp scampi, rock shrimp tempura might be the way to go. Nobu, an upscale restaurant, does an excellent rock shrimp tempura that people return for. Here's what it is and how you can cook them at home.

What is rock shrimp?

With a hard shell , rock shrimp (Sicyonia brevirostris) live and spawn deep (down to 240 feet of water) in the waters of the Atlantic Ocean. You can catch them around Florida, and all the way to the Gulf of Mexico and Bahamas, but most come from fisheries regulated by NOAA.

Because they are smaller, they are often mistaken for prawns. The difference is in the meat. With a tough exoskeleton, it's nearly impossible to get through their tough shells, which makes them more similar to a lobster tail than a shellfish like the gulf shrimp.

How to cook rock shrimp.

First, you need to get through the shell with some kitchen shears. Then, you'll want to pull the vein in most cases. Though this can be left in, many chefs remove it. From here, you need to decide if you want to boil, broil, steam, sauté, fry, or grill your raw shrimp.

Because the Nobu tempura is so popular and there are only two locations in all of Texas, here's a rock shrimp recipe that'll get you the East Coast taste of Nobu in your very own home. It makes for a great appetizer or side for the main meal.

Nobu's Rock Shrimp Tempura Recipe:

Thanks to Stephanie at City Cookin', we have this copycat recipe. Since this is a frying recipe, it's best to prepare safely for heated oil. You're going to need a pretty sturdy pan and an oil with low cholesterol, carbohydrates and saturated fat. If you're not watching your weight, go wild and choose your favorite frying oil. It's also unclear the number of shrimp you'll get out of this, but it's a pretty good size for a group of 6.

  1. Whisk together egg yolk, salt, and rice vinegar until well combined.
  2.  Working slowly while whisking, slowly drizzle oil into egg mixture and whisk until incorporated. Add just a little oil at a time until the mixture comes together and the oil emulsifies, then add more oil.
  3. Once all oil has been incorporated and the mixture looks like mayonnaise, stir in strained chili sauce. Set aside.
  4. In a shallow bowl, mix together egg yolk, ice water, and flour until just combined. The mixture will be lumpy but don't over mix or you'll risk a tough batter.
  5. Heat at least 4 inches of vegetable oil in a heavy pot or fryer to 360 degrees.
  6. One by one, dredge shrimp in batter and drop into oil. Fry 4 or 5 at a time (or more if you are using a large pot, being careful shrimp don't stick together) until light golden, 2-4 minutes. Drain on paper towels and repeat until all shrimp have been fried.
  7. While shrimp is still hot, coat with sauce and top with a little lemon juice.
  8. Serve immediately topped with chives.

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