The islands have no shortage of shrimp recipes

March 30 — Shrimp season has never stopped, but this year’s Blessing of the Fleet in Darien will be the first since the COVID-19 outbreak to bring the celebration back to full scale.

The three-day event is by far the biggest in town, with food, live music, vendors, carnival attractions, a parade, car show, 5K and a fun race.

The titular event, the blessing, sees a local clergyman bless the town’s shrimp fleet on a date close to the start of the annual shrimp fishing season – which traditionally takes place in June, but many shrimpers have launched earlier.

It also marks the grand return of the post-COVID-19 event. The city held a sort of makeover in September with the Bounty of the Sea festival, but the fleet blessing was canceled in 2020 and drastically scaled back in 2021 due to concerns about the disease spreading through large crowds.

Different events are scheduled for different days with the blessing itself set at 2 p.m. on Sundays. For more information, visit darienmcintoshchamber.com/blessing-of-the-fleet.

For Georgia Sea Grill, the humble shrimp sells a lot of dishes. Tim Lensch, executive chef of the Georgia Sea Grill, said there were plenty of visitors looking for a taste of the coast.

It’s starting to see more people asking for shrimp around this time of year, but on St. Simons Island it’s usually more because of the tourist season than the Darien event.

“This time of year we do, but I think it’s more the clientele that’s there — people coming to the coast, and it’s spring break,” Lensch said. “You have a lot of out-of-towners, and I know the shrimp, grits, and corn-fried shrimp are very popular.”

Among the most popular dishes in the coastal zone are shrimp and grits. It’s simple, but this simple base allows for plenty of variety and expression by a skilled chef.

“Everyone has their own view on that,” Lensch said. “A lot of them have cream sauce, but we use tomato sauce which has a little cream but more tomato.”

Tramici, also on St. Simons Island, rarely sees interest in its shrimp dishes, which only incorporate wild Georgia shrimp, said restaurant owner Dave Snyder.

For anyone looking to bring home a taste of the sea in honor of the start of shrimp season, the two had some recommendations for easy and fun dishes to make at home.

Lensch offered Georgia Sea Grill’s twist on shrimp and grits while Snyder detailed Tramici’s twist on a shrimp cocktail salad.

“It’s a twist on a shrimp cocktail. It has the main ingredients for a cocktail sauce, which is pretty fun,” Snyder said.

Tramici shrimp cocktail with tomato and peas

1 liter of water

1/2 cup Old Bay seasoning

6 lemons

4 teaspoons of salt

1 dozen peeled and deveined local shrimp

2 cups spring peas, shelled. Can replace frozen peas

1 cup extra virgin olive oil

2 teaspoons prepared horseradish

2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved

2 shallots, thinly sliced

1 cup celery hearts, thinly sliced

1 cup celery leaves

1 cup sour cream

2 teaspoons black pepper, ground

Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions: In 2 liters of water, add Old Bay, 1 lemon cut in half and 2 teaspoons of salt. To boil.

Place the shrimp in a bowl season with salt and pepper. Add water to the shrimp and let the shrimp cook in a bowl, about 12 minutes. When done, strain the water and remove the cut lemon.

In the remaining water, add 2 teaspoons of salt and bring to a boil.

If using fresh spring peas, boil 1 minute and shock in ice water to stop cooking. Strain.

If using frozen peas, boil for 15 seconds and plunge into ice water to stop the cooking. Strain.

Mix the juice of the remaining lemons, olive oil and horseradish to create a vinaigrette. Season with salt and pepper. If you want a lighter dressing, add more lemon juice.

Combine shrimp, peas, tomato, shallot, celery and celery leaves in a bowl and add dressing to taste with a little more salt and pepper.

In another bowl, combine sour cream and ground black pepper.

On the plate, place the shrimp salad over your favorite greens, we love 5 Oaks Farm, and top with sour cream.

Georgia Sea Grill Shrimp and Grits

1 pound Georgia white shrimp, tail off

1 cup Tasso ham, chopped

1 cup stone ground oatmeal

1 cup heavy cream

1/4 cup butter

Salt to taste

Directions: Add butter, cream and water to a saucepan and bring to a boil. Once boiling, add oats and stir frequently until thickened. Reduce to low heat and let cool until the grains are tender. Salt to taste. Preheat a sauté pan over medium-high heat, add a tablespoon of canola oil and allow to heat. Add prawns and ham. Once you have seared the prawns well, add a little tomato sauce and simmer for a few minutes. Once done, you can add it to your oatmeal and enjoy.

Tomato sauce

4 cups diced tomatoes

2 shallots

4 sliced ​​garlic cloves

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

3/4 molasses

1 cup heavy cream

1 tablespoon rapeseed oil

Salt and pepper to taste

Directions: Drain the diced tomatoes, extracting as much liquid as possible. In a saucepan over medium heat, add the canola oil, shallots and garlic and cook until lightly caramelized. Add the red wine vinegar, molasses and heavy cream and cook for 30 minutes, stirring frequently. Add salt and pepper to taste.

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