Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >
Sep 17, 2009 03:49 AM

St Augustine style shrimp

Hi guys -- I'm a Florida girl relocated to Europe, and while I'm LOVING the chow scene here (fresh markets, buying Brie *from the producer*...just today saw the butcher taking delivery of whole lambs), once in a while we get a good jones for a taste of something from home.

I've figured out Chipotle's pork carnitas (shoulda seen that one, three of us wolfing down burritoes like we were starving to death!)

I've got the Columbia cookbook, so I can manage a pretty mean 1905 salad and a Cuban sandwich - my paella has been famous for years, and my flan can bring a grown man to his knees.

The one I am having trouble deconstructing is St Augustine shrimp -- like O'Steen's. Anybody have a recipe that has a more-than-passing resemblance? It's the one recipe that we keep talking about, and I just can't muster the light batter.


  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
    1. re: sunshine842

      sunshine, I've haven't been to O'Steen's, so I may be way off target here, but does this recipe seem to bear any semblance to that which you're seeking?

      Or are you looking for a particular fried shrimp?

      1. re: Normandie

        Thanks for the effort, Normandie, but I'm afraid that's off-base. O'Steen's is a St Augustine landmark and legend -- they've been there since around WWII, I'm told, and they make the best fried shrimp on the planet. It's one of those concrete block buildings with plastic tablecloths, no credit cards, no beer - but people line up for hours. The breading (batter?) is very, very light -- almost like a tempura in texture -- but it has a very light flavor, and isn't greasy. Killer awesome stuff.

        1. re: sunshine842

          Those are sometimes the *best* kinds of places, aren't they, sunshine? I *love* tempura batter.

          I was afraid I might be wrong, because after I found that recipe, I looked up O'Steen's and saw discussions about fried shimp, just as you said.

          Just a thought, but if you haven't done so yet, why don't try emailing O'Steen's directly. I know some places will share their recipes, and some won't. In your case, I would play on their sympathy, explain that you're expatriated and tell them that while you just can't stop thinking about their shrimp, you don't foresee a trip to Florida in your future to have the real thing. Maybe they'll take sympathy upon you. It's worked for me a couple of times with places I've visited on business trips, etc.

    2. The original comment has been removed
      1. gosh I'm so nosey. I have to know what is St. Augustine shrimp? How long has O'Steen's been there?

        1 Reply
        1. re: chef chicklet

          O'Steen's has been there since WWII, I'm told -- the legend is that when Navy recruits were filing through Jacksonville on their way to Europe, they ate a lot of fried shrimp, as that was the local specialty -- cheap and plentiful. They loved it so much that they carried the tradition of fried shrimp back home, and that's how fried shrimp came to be spread across the US. (that's the story, anyway!) -- But real fried shrimp in St Augustine bears no resemblance at all to the heavy, greasy, rubbery things they throw on your plate at Red Lobster....and I can't find the recipe, or even a reasonable facsimile, anywhere (snif)

        2. O'Steen's!

          I've been there exactly once, just about a year ago when my nephew got married.

          Some of the best fried seafood ever. I remember it being perfectly fried - not overcooked, not undercooked, not greasy. Just succulent shrimp, oysters, scallops and fish fried. Perfectly. Obviously hand breaded lightly in-house (not off a Sysco truck). The breading was so light as to be inseparable from the seafood - you couldn't peal a layer of breading off of anything.

          I think that the key is FRESH seafood, simply treated and deftly handled.

          I would use peanut oil, as that's my preference. I would season with salt and pepper and dredge in seasoned flour and flash fry. I might use chick pea flour. I'm sure that O'Steen's doesn't use it but the flavor is neutral and it makes a nice crust.

          Thanks for the memory of O'Steen's. I wish I could find a place that good here in coastal NC!

          1 Reply
          1. re: BeaN

            I was in St. Augustine just once as well, and was fortunate enough to have a meal at O'Steens. While everything (including the shrimp) was first rate, the dish I remember most was the Minorcan Clam Chowder with Datil peppers spicing it up. Tried growing Datil's when I returned to CT, but the summer wasn't very hot and I didn't get a good crop.

          2. Sunshine, Here is the cookbook I use to duplicate the fried shrimp at O'Steens and Barnicle Bills in St. Augustine, Florida. "Seasonal Florida, A Taste Of Life In North Florida" by Jo Manning. The book covers everything from "Hippocrite Bread" to "Possum And Taters". Looking at Amazon, this is expensive, but Barnes and Noble has it for much less. Here's the link to the cook book.


            Best of luck !!


            1 Reply
            1. re: scheney

              Thanks for that -- I'll have to look for it next time I'm home.