This was my first--but not last--time making fried shrimp at home. All you need are fresh and big shrimp and you'll agree that these are seriously worth the effort.
Peel the shrimp. If you are into repurposing ingredients, be sure to save the shells in a freezer bag and store them in the freezer. When the bag is full, you can make shrimp stock.
Next, devein the shrimp. (If you have a trusty little shrimp sheller and deveiner, use it.)
Using a paring knife, cut along the backside where you removed the yucky stuff. Slice the shrimp open so it separates and looks like the wings of a butterfly. Be careful not to slice all the way through.
Season the shrimp with salt and pepper.
Now we will prepare our breading station. Crack two eggs in a shallow dish and beat well. Place the flour in another shallow dish and the panko in a third dish.
Dredge each shrimp in beaten egg, a dusting of flour and panko.
Place the breaded shrimp on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Allow the breaded shrimp to chill in the fridge for an hour, a few hours or overnight. This will ensure the breading clings to the shrimp and doesn't come off during cooking.
When ready, place the oil in a large skillet over high heat. Once the heat is hot, turn the heat down to medium-high and carefully set the breaded shrimp in the skillet, but do not overfill the skillet. If needed, do this in two or more batches.
Cook the shrimp for three minutes until the underside is golden delicious.
Using tongs, flip the shrimp so the other side cooks thoroughly, another three minutes or until golden.
When cooked, place the shrimp on a paper towel-lined plate and season with salt and pepper.
Serve with lemon wedges, tartar sauce and cocktail sauce and your favorite sides.
Refrigerate any leftover fried shrimp and eat them cold the next day.