A shrimp trawler, slowly pulling her nets along the banks of Ocean Isle Beach, is a welcome sight for many. Local fishermen are hard at work, providing seafood for locals, visitors and folks all over the country. All summer long, shrimp season provides a sweet and succulent locally sourced food. Fresh shrimp is served in restaurants up and down the NC coast, but it is easy enough for even the novice cook to prepare. Get ready to scroll your way through a fresh shrimp education that will teach you how to buy local shrimp, show you how to peel and devein shrimp, and give you a simple seafood recipe to try for yourself.
There are several choices when it comes to buying fresh seafood at Ocean Isle Beach. Locals recommend Sheffield’s Seafood & Grocery,Captain Jacks Seafood, and Island Seafood Company for the best selection. Whichever seafood market you choose, be sure to find one that is clean, sells high-quality products, and is willing to offer helpful advice to their customers. The seafood market will typically have the shrimp graded by a numbered size. If their large shrimp are “20 Count”, that means that it takes 20 of those shrimp to equal one pound. Shrimp are weighed whole…with the heads on…unless specifically advertised.
Take a look at the shrimp. Are they clean and intact with translucent shells? Do they have a firm flesh and a mild odor? Are they moist and free of blemishes? Are they iced down heavily? If so, then you have found good quality shrimp. Be sure to ask where the shrimp came from. It’s nice to know that source of your food. Shrimping season in eastern North Carolin is throughout the summer and into the early fall.
Once you’ve decided what size shrimp you want, and how many pounds you want…it’s time to buy. Be sure to take a small cooler with you for transporting your shrimp. Most seafood markets will supply you with some ice! To get the biggest bang for your buck, you will want to purchase shrimp whole…with the heads on. Don’t be scared or intimidated by whole shrimp! You are about to learn how to easily head, peel, and devein shrimp on your own!
A picture is worth a thousand words. So a video must be worth a million words! In this video, you are going to learn how to properly handle shrimp, how to take the head off a shrimp, and how to peel and devein a shrimp. Remember to keep your shrimp cold (or on ice) as you are working. After you are finished handling shrimp, clean your hands throughly with hot and soapy water. If you get any pokes or cuts while cleaning shrimp, take time to rinse hands in alcohol or tea tree oil…in order to kill any bacteria. If your hands are smelling shrimpy…you can rub some fresh lemon on them!
Do you remember Bubba from the movie Forrest Gump? “Shrimp kabob, Shrimp ‘n Grits, Fried Shrimp, Boiled Shrimp, Shrimp Salad…..”. Well, Bubba was a wise man…there are so many wonderful ways to prepare shrimp. The possibilities are endless. Here is a simple to make and easy to enjoy Shrimp Salad recipe that can be a side dish with your dinner, or as part of a picnic as you play in the sand on Ocean Isle Beach. The great part about this recipe is that it is easy to double (or triple…to feed your army), and you can cater it to your family’s taste buds! Don’t like onion…no problem. Love radishes…add some in!
Simple Shrimp & Pasta Salad
1 (16 oz.) package dry pasta (twist, elbow, bowtie)
1 pound of medium shrimp
1 tomato, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
1/2 onion, diced
(cucumber, radish, zucchini, etc. would also be good)
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 or more Tbsp. Mayonnaise
salt & pepper to taste
dash of celery salt
1) Boil pasta according to package directions.
2) Head, peel and devein whole fresh shrimp
3) Sauté shrimp in olive oil or butter and a dash of salt, until shrimp turn pink on all side. Be careful not to overcook. Chop shrimp once it is cooled.
4) While shrimp is cooling, chop the vegetables.
5) Combine drained pasta, chopped shrimp, chopped vegetables, mayo, salt/pepper, and celery salt in a large bowl.
6) Cover and refrigerate. Serve chilled.
Hint: If you happen to be boiling up some Peel ‘N Eat Shrimp….just save a few of those from your Simple Shrimp & Pasta Salad recipe!!
What’s your favorite way to eat shrimp? Leave us a comment below, and tell us about your quintessential summer vacation shrimp meal!