Shrimp goes big time this weekend

September 28, 2011 

  • The 17th annual Beaufort Shrimp Festival will be held Friday Sept. 30 and Saturday Oct. 1 at Henry C. Chambers Waterfront Park in downtown Beaufort. Food and beverage booths open at 6 p.m. Friday.

    Details: 843-525-6644, info@downtownbeaufort.com, www.downtownbeaufort.com

  • Shrimp Creole

    Makes: 5-6 servings

    2 1/2 pounds raw shrimp, cleaned and shelled

    2 medium onions, chopped

    1 green pepper, chopped

    1 1/2 cup celery, cut in large pieces

    1/4 cup bacon dripping, salad or olive oil

    1/2 can No. 2 can tomatoes

    1 can Spanish style tomato sauce

    1/2 cup water

    1/8 teaspoon garlic powder or clove of garlic

    1 bay leaf

    4 teaspoons chili powder

    3 dashes Tabasco sauce

    One day before serving, simmer shrimp in boiling salted water for 5 minutes. Drain. Chill overnight. Saute onion, green pepper and celery in oil until tender. Add remaining ingredients except shrimp, simmer 30 minutes. Add shrimp, refrigerate for 30 minutes before serving. Re-heat shrimp mixture over low heat.

    Pour over hot rice.

    Shrimp Mosca

    2 pounds shrimp in shells, headless

    Pinch of oregano

    Pinch fresh ground pepper

    5 or 6 garlic pods, minced

    1 ounce sauterne

    2 bay leaves

    Pinch of rosemary

    1 teaspoon salt

    1 1/2 ounces olive oil

    Combine everything except sauterne; saute over hot fire 15-20 minutes or until shrimp are slightly brown. Add sauterne. Cook over low heat about 10 minutes or until wine evaporates.

    Shrimp Casserole

    Makes: 6 servings

    1 1/2 pounds small shrimp or medium cut into pieces

    1/4 cup margarine or butter

    1 clove garlic, pressed

    1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

    1/8 teaspoon paprika

    1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

    2 tablespoons dry sherry

    1/2 cup soft bread crumbs

    Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Cook shrimp in salted or seasoned water. Melt margarine in medium saucepan. Add garlic, parsley, paprika, cayenne and sherry and mix well. Cover and simmer about 5 minutes. Add shrimp, crumbs; stir lightly.

    Place in lightly greased 1-quart casserole dish and bake for 20 to 30 minutes or until heated and bubbly.

Shrimp is considered by many to be the most popular seafood in the nation. But this has not always been the case.

Until the late 1920s, fishermen thought of shrimp as pests that fouled their nets, and they threw them aside. John Maiolo, a retired sociology professor from East Carolina University, reported in his book "Hard Times and a Nickel a Bucket" that in those days North Carolina fishermen were paid 3 cents a pound for their catches while those who headed them were paid 5 cents a bucket. Many nutrition leaders recalled that folks would often throw the shrimp back in the waters.

We've come a long way from those times. Along the Southeast coast shrimp come in the colors of brown, white and pink. Shrimpers catch these favorites in large mesh nets. Cast net makers still are around, teaching their craft to their children and grandchildren, hoping the art will stay alive.

Shrimp are low in calories and fat, but high in protein. They contain a moderate amount of cholesterol, depending on the species. Shrimp drop one count in shelling and another in cooking. After peeling and cooking, raw and headless shrimp will yield about three-fourths their weight.

Smaller shrimp should be used for casseroles, salads, sandwiches and in spreads and dips. Medium shrimp make good additions in soups and some entrees such as shrimp creole. They also can be steamed or grilled. Use large shrimp for grilling, steaming and other entrees where size matters.

Shrimp may be peeled before or after cooking. If they are boiled, steamed or pre-cooked for a recipe, they are much more flavorful if cooked in the shells.

A weekend of shrimp eating begins Friday with the 17th annual Beaufort Shrimp Festival at Henry C. Chambers Waterfront Park in downtown Beaufort. Details: 843-525-6644, info@downtownbeaufort.com, www.downtownbeaufort.com

You can continue the fun at home preparing these shrimp dishes.

Port Royal resident Ervena Faulkner is a retired educator who has always had an interest in food and nutrition. Email her at features@beaufortgazette.com.

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