Mississippi Gulf Coast Fresh Shrimp Recipes for the 2016-2017 Season
If you drive on US 90 just after dark on a certain evening in June, you will notice that the horizon over the Mississippi Strait has come alive with the shrimp boat anchor lights.
This annual event can only mean one thing: Mississippi shrimp season is about to begin. That date was June 6 of this year.
There are a lot of good reasons why so many people are moving to the Mississippi Gulf Coast.
It’s often a good job or a reasonable place to retire, but if you’re a foodie then the abundance of delicious and fresh seafood just might sway your decision.
The salty waters of the Mississippi Sound and the clear waters of the Gulf of Mexico, a few miles offshore, are teeming with fish, crabs, shrimp and oysters.
But there is something special about the opening of the wild shrimp season. This year we celebrated quite spectacularly when the shrimp boats started to bring back huge shrimp on the first day. There were 16/20, an average of 18 per pound.
The shrimp are sized in number per pound, so the extra large shrimp fall into the 26/30, jumbo 21/25, extra jumbo 16/20 and so on.
Bigger is better
There is quite a difference of opinion on which size to use for which recipe, but I remain a firm believer that the bigger the better, no matter what you’re cooking.
Now don’t worry, but once the shrimp boats were stuck with the smallest shrimp they caught, so they were doing the only thing they could do – feed them to their families. As small as they were, they were really painful to peel, but they often ended up in a pot of okra and thus earned the nickname okra shrimp.
The first time I disclosed this notion, I received an angry mail for weeks. Some writers have been offended that I could suggest that the family recipe that called for okra shrimp could be replaced with jumbo or even extra jumbo. This is only my opinion, but sit back, breathe and give it a try. You might like.
More uses for shrimp
All right, let’s move on. So what else can you make with shrimp besides making okra? It’s a never-ending list, like the famous Forrest Gump list.
Today I’m going to focus on three: the shrimp spaghetti, the shrimp pate, and the garlic shrimp bruschetta.
Garlic shrimp bruschetta
This is another easy recipe. It is best when served with garlic aioli (garlic, salt and mayo) and in large quantities. Toast slices of bread as in the previous recipe, add a lot of aioli then garnish with 2 large shrimp.
1 pound of large shrimp
3-5 garlic cloves
Â½ stick of butter
red pepper flakes
Fresh herbs, basil, sage and / or thyme will do the trick
Slice the garlic as thin as possible. Melt the butter in a pan over low to medium heat, add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook until the butter is intensely fragrant. If the garlic turns brown, remove it. Increase the heat, add the shrimp and cook for 1 minute. Spread an excessive amount of aioli on the toast, add the shrimp (with butter from the pan if desired) and serve immediately.
This is another simple recipe. Serve it with toasted slices of bread as a dip or snack. It goes wonderfully with a craft beer or a dry white wine like the gruner veltliner.
1 pound of peeled shrimp
1 chopped onion
2-3 tablespoons of butter (more if you like)
Juice of 1/2 lemon (even more if you like)
Tony Chachere Creole Seasoning
Valentino hot sauce
Season the shrimp with Tony’s and sautÃ© in butter for a minute. Remove and set aside. Add the onion to the pan and sautÃ© for 5 minutes. The rest of this recipe is by taste and eye. Add the shrimp and onion to a food processor and mix, but keep a little coarse. Add a cup or two of mayonnaise, a teaspoon or two of horseradish, a little lemon, and as much of the hot sauce as you’d like. Mix, taste and re-season if necessary. Serve with the toasted slices of bread mentioned in the accompanying bruschetta recipe, but if you want a little extra spice, add garlic and red chili flakes to the butter in which you toast the bread.
The shrimp spaghetti is a Biloxi classic. A poor shrimp boatman could feed himself and his crew with a pound or two of dry pasta, a big can of whole or a few fresh tomatoes and as many shrimp, any size, as he chose. The whole meal would only cost him a few cents, and so it is today. Want to feed a large table of family or friends? Go for this recipe.
1 pound peeled large wild shrimp
1 large can of whole tomatoes
1 chopped onion
1-2 chopped peppers
3-5 garlic cloves, chopped
1-2 chopped and seeded jalapeÃ±o peppers (optional)
1 cup of dry red wine (optional)
1 large pinch of red pepper flakes
Tony Chachere Creole Seasoning
Butter and olive oil
Cook pasta according to package directions and drain. If you’re not going to serve it right away, shock it in an ice bath to keep it from cooking and set aside. Add a little olive oil in a sautÃ© pan, plus one or two tabs of butter. Season the shrimp with Tony’s and when the butter foams in the hot pan, add the shrimp. Cook 30 seconds on one side. Remove the shrimp, set aside and add the onion and peppers to the same pan (do not wipe or wash, as there is too much flavor to waste). Season with Tony’s and the red pepper flakes (make sure they are fresh) and cook for 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another 2 minutes. Drain most of the liquid from the tomatoes and crush them by hand. Add to the pan, along with the wine and simmer for 10 minutes, or until the liquid has reduced by half. Add the shrimp and cook for a few minutes to incorporate the flavors. Arrange the pasta, top with sauce and shrimp, and if you’re very brave, top with freshly grated Parmesan. If you have any, a garnish of fresh herbs would be good.
This story was originally published July 13, 2016 5:13 am.