If you’re trying to eat a diet that’s low in fat and high in protein, you may find yourself heaping on shrimp. It’s not as intimidating to cook as many fish, and that might be why we Americans eat so much of it – an average of 4 pounds of shrimp for each of us each year.

Shrimp do pack in a lot of nutrition. They’re high in protein and low in calories. While some people do need to watch out for cholesterol, nutritionists now agree that saturated fat is what raises our cholesterol levels and risks damaging our hearts. That leads to one problem with shrimp: We tend to either fry it or stir it into creamy sauces that we spoon over pasta.

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There is a way to avoid all that fat and still get the satisfying crunch of fried shrimp: Harness your oven. A simple coating that ends with panko, the Japanese-style bread crumbs, will give you that familiar crispy texture without the mess and fat of deep-frying.

You can use these shrimp as the protein in a dinner salad, as the filling in a po’ boy sandwich (if your diet can handle the carbohydrates in the bread) or beside grits for a simple take on shrimp and grits.

Crunchy lemon shrimp

From “Carolina Catch: Cooking North Carolina Fish and Shellfish,” by Debbie Moose (UNC Press, 2018).


  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 1 1/2 cups of panko (you could substitute fresh bread crumbs)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped chives
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest (from about 1 lemon)
  • 3/4 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 28 large shrimp, peeled (deveined if necessary)


Preheat oven to 375. Place a rack over a rimmed backing sheet and spray with nonstick cooking spray.

In a shallow bowl, combine the panko, chives, lemon zest, pepper and salt. Place the flour in a second shallow bowl. Place the eggs in a third bowl and lightly beat.

Dip each shrimp, one at a time, into the flour, shake off the excess, dip in the egg and then roll in the panko mixture. Place each shrimp on the rack. (To cut down on mess, use a chef trick:

Use one hand for placing the shrimp in the flour and crumbs, and your other hand for dropping them in the egg mixture and removing them.)

Bake for 10 minutes, or until the shrimp are cooking through and the panko is lightly browned. (It won’t brown much, because of the lack of fat.)

Serve hot.

Yield: 6 servings (5 to 6 shrimp per serving). Per serving: 185.7 calories; 2.1g total fat (0.6g saturated fat, 0g trans fats); 115.1mg cholesterol; 266.3mg sodium; 28.5g carbohydrates (1.3g dietary fiber, 1.3g sugars); 13g protein.