It’s puzzling to me why more people don’t buy local shrimp.
I don’t buy the imported-are-cheaper argument. When you can get fresh shrimp from South Carolina waters for $5 to $10 a pound, depending on the size and heads on or off, you are getting an incredible bargain. J
ust ask someone in, say, Des Moines, Iowa, what they would pay for the most delicious wild-caught shrimp in the country, if not the world.
That’s not just my opinion. Chef Mike Lata of The Ordinary restaurant recently expressed the same sentiment.
And just think of what people are willing to pay per pound for premium beef ... double or triple.
Maybe some people don’t know where to get local shrimp. Thankfully, many more grocery stores now carry them than in the past. And there’s shrimp to be had at any one of our many local seafood stores.
If you’re the type who appreciates a closer look at the source, then go to one of the local docks. Often the prices are better than anywhere else.
At my house, we tend to buy in bulk thanks to a freezer and weekly consumption of shrimp. So we stock up, 20 to 30 pounds at a time, at the start of shrimping season and then once or twice more before the season closes in the winter.
We’ve purchased shrimp from the docks in McClellanville, on Shem Creek, in Rockville and Folly Beach. Sometimes we take the pretty drive (S.C. Highway 26) to Bennett’s Point in Green Pond, in the heart of the ACE Basin.
Find a good list of places to buy local shrimp on the website of the South Carolina Seafood Alliance, www. scseafood.org.
Anyway, we came back with some nice-sized shrimp from the latest excursion to Bennett’s Point. The larger shrimp, about 21 count per pound, are especially good for grilling.
Which brings us to today’s recipes, after a West Ashley reader asked for variety of grilled shrimp dishes to try.
Joanne Alexander, who also lives west of the Ashley, stepped up to the plate.
“My favorite recipe for grilling shrimp is to marinate peeled large shrimp in the following marinade for several hours:”
Joanne’s Grilled Shrimp
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup snipped parsley (in a pinch, 2 tablespoons dried)
1 tablespoon Worchestershire sauce
1 tablespoon dill weed
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 to 11/2 pounds large shrimp, peeled except for tails and deveined
Mix ingredients for marinade and place in a sealable bag or container. Marinate for a couple of hours or longer.
Thread shrimp (five or six per) on two parallel bamboo skewers that have been soaked in water for about 30 minutes so the wood won’t burn. (The reason for the two is to keep the shrimp from spinning around as they would on a single skewer!)
Grill shrimp over hot coals until done (until they turn pink and the meat is opaque). Place on serving plates on skewers and guests can push shrimp off the skewers to eat.
It’s fun to find new recipes in unexpected places.
Here are a couple courtesy of Kingsford charcoal and its website, www.grilling.com.
Barbecue Bacon-Wrapped Shrimp With Basil Stuffing
Yields: 6-8 servings
30 basil leaves, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon fresh minced garlic
30 large shrimp (21-25 count per pound), peeled with tail shells on
15 thin bacon slices, cut in half
6 bamboo skewers soaked in water 1 to 2 hours
¼ cup apple juice
¼ cup pure maple syrup
2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1¼ cups barbecue sauce, bottled or homemade
Mix together the basil, cheese and garlic. Remove shrimp shells, leaving only the tail. Butterfly the shrimp by cutting down the back of each shrimp and remove the vein. Fill the cut with ½ teaspoon of the basil stuffing. Wrap each shrimp with ½ slice of bacon and tuck the loose end or secure the bacon with a toothpick, leaving only the shrimp tail exposed.
Each skewer can hold a full serving of 5 shrimp.
Build a fire (wood or a combination of charcoal and wood) for indirect cooking situating the coals on only one side of the grill, leaving the other side void. When the grill temperature reaches 400 degrees, place the shrimp on the grill away from the coals and with the tails pointing up. Close the lid and cook the shrimp for 14 minutes. Drain the shrimp on a paper towel-lined platter.
Stir the sauce ingredients together in a small bowl. Holding the shrimp by the tail, dip each into the sauce, and return it to the grill away from the coals. Close the cooker lid and allow the sauce to caramelize (about 3 minutes). Serve hot.
Skewered Shrimp Stack
Yields: 4 servings
For the marinade:
1 teaspoon minced garlic
8 bamboo or metal skewers
¼ cup chopped cilantro (about half of a bunch)
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup lime juice
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 pound extra large shrimp (21-25), peeled and deveined
Assemble marinade ingredients in a large food storage bag, seal, and toss to mix. Add the shrimp and toss to coat. Marinate the shrimp for 30 minutes.
If using bamboo skewers, soak them in water while the shrimp is marinating to prevent them from burning on the grill. When the shrimp are finished marinating, spear three shrimp per skewer. Discard remaining marinade.
Grill shrimp on the outer edges of the grill over a hot charcoal fire (approximately 400 degrees) for 2-3 minutes on the first side and 1-2 minutes on the second side. Serve on the skewer or remove shrimp from skewer and serve on a platter.
Who’s got the recipe?
Fudgy Brabham of Mount Pleasant remembers the fried shrimp served by the old LaBrasca’s restaurant, and would love to have the recipe. He says they were not heavily battered and somehow seem to have been imparted with a lemon flavor. “Sensational,” he says.
Maria Link of Ridgeville fondly recalls the “best Greek potatoes” served at the former North Towne restaurant in North Charleston and also would love to have the recipe. The potatoes included a touch of tomatoes.
Reach Features Editor Teresa Taylor at firstname.lastname@example.org or 937-4886.