Shrimp recipes that celebrate the Lowcountry's best catch

features@beaufortgazette.comOctober 8, 2013 

19950901 Shrimp

Shrimp is a Lowcountry staple

STAFF — McClatchy-Tribune News

  • CALLING ALL LOWCOUNTRY CHEFS

    If you make one of Ervena Faulkner's recipe, take a picture and send it to us at features@islandpacket.com.

Care to guess the most popular seafood in the nation?

Shrimp has been said to have that honor, and with this being the baiting season in Beaufort County, many are out claiming their bounty from Lowcountry waters.

Shrimp has not always been popular. Until the late 1920s, fishermen thought of them as pests and threw them aside.

You can buy shrimp in a variety of sizes. Generally a pound contains 21 to 25 jumbo shrimp, 31 to 40 large, 41 to 50 medium, and 51 to 60 small. There are no official standards for labeling the sizes, and different markets may use different terms.

Fresh shrimp smell like sea water. There should be no off-odors or chemical smell. When shopping for shrimp, look for those that are firm and not slippery. Look for uniform size and lack of defects, such as black spots, yellowing or a bleached appearance.

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. Shrimp must be headed and peeled, deveining them is optional. In many shrimp, the "sand vein," as it is commonly called, is small and can be left. Most of the digestive organs of a shrimp are in the head and thorax and are removed when the shrimp is headed. If the vein is large, it may be gritty, and you'll want to remove it. Dishes such as shrimp cocktail, salads and soups are more aesthetically pleasing if the vein has been removed. When precooking, shrimp should be cooked in salted or seasoned water.

Now is a good time to try new ways to cook shrimp.

SOUTHERN SEAFOOD SOUP

For a printable recipe card, click the link at right.

3 cups fresh okra

3 tablespoons bacon drippings

2 large onions, chopped fine

1 large bell pepper, seeded and coarsely chopped

3 garlic cloves, chopped fine

1/2 cup diced ham

2 quarts chicken stock

1/2 teaspoon ground allspice

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt

2 tablespoons solid shortening

1/4 cup flour

5 tomatoes, seeded and coarsely chopped

1 pound lump crabmeat

2 pounds cleaned large shrimp

1 pound oysters with liquor

Season the okra to taste. In a large pot, over medium heat, fry the okra in the bacon drippings. Add the onions, green pepper, garlic and ham. Fry until the onions are transparent. Add the chicken stock and next three ingredients. In a separate frying pan, melt the shortening over high heat. Add the flour and stir until a reddish brown roux forms. Be careful not to burn it. Then quickly add the tomatoes with their liquid; stir and add to the soup pot. Allow to simmer for 1 hour. Five minutes before serving, add the crabmeat, shrimp and oysters. Mix well and ladle into individual serving bowls.

From Ervena Faulkner's personal file

SHRIMP CURRY

4 tablespoons margarine or butter

1/2 cup finely chopped onion

1 1/2 teaspoons pressed garlic

7 tablespoons flour

3 tablespoons curry powder (or more to taste)

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 (14 1/2) ounce can chicken broth

1 cup light cream

1 1/2 pounds cooked small shrimp, peeled

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Cooked rice

In large saucepan, melt margarine over medium heat. Saute onion and garlic until tender. Stir in flour, curry powder, ginger and salt. Add chicken broth and blend. Stir in cream and cook until thickened, stirring constantly. Add shrimp and lemon juice. Continue cooking until shrimp. Do not allow to boil. Serve over hot rice.

Source: "Mariner's Menu: 30 Years of Fresh Seafood Ideas" (2003)

BEAUFORT'S BEST SHRIMP BURGERS

For a printable recipe card, click the link at right.

Makes: 4 servings

1 pound very fresh shrimp

2 tablespoons scallions

3 tablespoons celery

2 tablespoons parsley

1 1/2 teaspoons lemon zest

3 tablespoons mayonnaise

1 cup cornbread crumbs-use only cornbread crumbs that are not sweet

1 egg, beaten

Salt and freshly ground pepper

1 dash Tabasco

3 tablespoons oil

Cook and peel the shrimp and chop coarsely. In a large bowl mix the shrimp with the scallions, celery, parsley and lemon zest. Stir in the mayonnaise, cornbread crumbs and the egg, beat well with a whisk or wooden spoon until evenly distributed. Season with salt, freshly ground pepper and Tabasco. Form into patties and saute in oil until both sides are nicely browned. Drain on paper towels. Serve on soft buns with lettuce, tomato and tartar sauce.

Source: "Shrimp, Collards and Grits, Pat Branning" (2011)

SHRIMP SALAD

For a printable recipe card, click the link at right.

Makes: 3-4 servings

1 pound small shrimp

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1/2 cup finely chopped celery

2 hard cooked eggs, chopped

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1/2 teaspoon Tabasco sauce

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper

Lettuce

Tomato wedges

Cook shrimp in salted or seasoned water. Peel and devein. Mix shrimp with lemon juice. Add celery, eggs, mayonnaise, Tabasco and pepper. Mix well. Chill thoroughly. Serve on lettuce leaves. Garnish with tomato wedges.

Source: "Mariner's Menu: 30 Years of Fresh Seafood Ideas" (2003)

LOWCOUNTRY BOIL

For a printable recipe card, click the link at right.

Makes: 6-10 servings

1/2 cup Tabasco or hot sauce

2 tablespoons salt

2 teaspoons seafood seasoning

5 pounds medium to large shrimp

1 large onion

2 pounds beef or pork sausage

2 to 4 cups beer or water

1 stalk celery

2 green peppers

Chunks fresh corn on cob, 6 to 10 pieces

Chunks white potatoes (optional)

Mix 1/4 cup Tabasco sauce, 1 tablespoon salt and 2 teaspoons seafood seasoning in a large bowl or pan. Marinate fresh shrimp in the mixture for 30 to 45 minutes. Cut onion in rings and let boil in water or beer for 5 minutes; cut sausage in chunks and bring to a boil. Let ingredients simmer until juices saturate sausage. Add celery and green peppers, let simmer 5 minutes. Add corn, then shrimp and allow to simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, making sure all shrimp and corn have been immersed in boil for at least 5 minutes. Place on platter and serve with your favorite seafood sauce.

Source: Emory S. Campbell from the "Penn School and Sea Islands Heritage Cookbook"

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

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