Monday, October 01, 2007

"Anyway, like I was sayin', shrimp is the fruit of the sea."

Every summer when I was growing up my family would rise before dawn, pile into the car, and make the 14 hour drive down to Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. Once we were there it was beach in the morning, pool in the afternoon, and mini golf in the evening. For the most part. There were other activities thrown in, lots of shopping, daytrips to Savannah, and of course, the trip was not complete without a day on the shrimp boat. My dad liked shrimping because it was almost as good as deep sea fishing, without the work. My mom liked shrimping because the nets did all the work - there were no hooks to bait, no fish to remove from hooks. My brother and I liked shrimping because inevitably the dolphins would follow the boat and the nets would pull up all sorts of neat sea creatures like urchins and anenomes.

At the end of the day we would have pounds and pounds of fresh, sweet, shrimp. My father quickly instituted the rule that if you wanted to eat, you had to help peel which is how we ended up with the entire family surrounding the sink pulling off heads and tails of hundreds of little critters. Nothing tastes as good as fresh shrimp. They have an unmatched sweetness and color it is hard pressed to find once they are placed on ice and shipped to your supermarket. We used to eat so much shrimp that the next morning we'd be puffy from the amount of sodium in the crustaceans. But since it was a once a year thing, a little puffiness didn't stop us.

Now all the shrimp I have comes from the grocers. I'm still reluctant to get frozen shrimp since that removes it even farther from the sea, and I have no problem peeling a couple dozen fresh shrimp. There's enough flavor in shrimp where not much needs to be done. I like this recipe because its very basic - a little lemon, garlic, oil and you're good to go. Just keep an eye on the shrimp - once it's pink it only need a couple more seconds on the stovetop - there's NOTHING grosser than rubbery, overcooked shrimp!

Lemon Garlic Shrimp

1 lemon
1/4 lb medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 cup EVOO
1/2 tsp coarse salt
1/4 tsp pepper

1) Finely grate zest of lemon. Juice lemon and set aside juice.
2) Combine lemon zest, garlic, 1/16 cup EVOO and shrimp and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper.
3) Heat a large saute pan over medium heat. Add 1 Tbsp oil and heat until oil is hot. Cook shrimp until pink (about 1 minute per side)
4) Remove shrimp and keep warm. Add lemon juice to pan and stir. Pour pan sauce over shrimp and serve.


  1. My family and I spent just about every summer since the early 90's in Hilton Head. Beach in the morning, pool in the afternoon, and mini golf at night! Your post made me yearn for the heat, humidity... just the beach in general. We missed out this year for various reasons but I am already looking forward to next summer.

  2. Thank you for showing us the front AND the back of the shrimp.

  3. What a mice story. It warmed my heart kimda to picture the family (ome member im particular!!! *swoom*) aroumd the simk peelimg shrimp!

  4. this is on my menu for wednesday night's dinner. thanks! :)