Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Celebrate the Fourth with Wild, American Shrimp!

I love the fourth of July! I say this even though I live at the beach where the crowds overwhelm our small island. I say this even though I own a restaurant and will be working on the fourth. I say this because it seems to be another occasion when Americans really celebrate with food. Granted it might lack the weeks of preparation that come with Thanksgiving, but still most folks seem determined to feast together on the fourth. And these feasts usually focus on what we consider decidedly "American" fare. Of course, that fare could vary drastically according to what region of the country you call home.

Here, in Charleston I think that a shrimp boil would be the perfect patriotic party fare. It just so happens that the shrimp season finally opened this week after much delay due to extremely cold water temperatures this past winter. And word around the docks is that it is going to be a pretty sad shrimp season even after giving the shrimp time to grow and spawn. Local shrimpers already make a meager living due largely to a national market flooded by farm raised shrimp from Asia. So, news of a bleak shrimp season in the Lowcountry hits especially hard.

And that's why I propose showing your patriotism this fourth by cooking up wild, American shrimp. Enjoy your time with friends and family gathered around some definite American fare!

Peel-n-Eat Boiled Shrimp

There is nothing easier or more tasty than fresh shrimp boiled with some seasonings, and we've figured out the perfect medley so that you can impress all your friends!

12 cups water
2/3 cup white wine
2/3 cup salt
2 tablespoons mustard seed
1 tablespoon cayenne
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon coriander seed
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
About 20 sprigs of fresh thyme
1/2 cup roughly chopped celery (about 1 1/2 medium stalks)
1 onion, quartered
1 lemon, crushed
4 garlic cloves, crushed
3 pounds shrimp, unpeeled

Combine all ingredients excluding shrimp in a large pot and bring to a boil. Add shrimp and cook until just finished, about 3 to 5 minutes. Shrimp should be pink and firm. Drain – do not rinse! Serve as “peel-n-eat” with our cocktail sauce or red remoulade (see recipes below).

YIELD: 8 appetizer portions

Cocktail Sauce

1 cup ketchup
1/3 cup prepared horseradish
1 1/2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon hot sauce

Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl; whisk until incorporated.

YIELD: About 1 1/2 cups

Red Remoulade

1 cup mayonnaise
¼ cup ketchup
2 tablespoons Creole mustard, or other whole grain mustard
2 tablespoons prepared horseradish
½ teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
Splash of hot sauce

Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl; whisk until well combined.

YIELD: About 1 1/2 cups (enough to dress 1 pound of peeled, boiled shrimp)

P.S. You can leave out the ketchup, making it "white remoulade" -- a similarly tasty sauce!

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