Sunday, January 16, 2011

A Fish .... er, Shrimp Tale

“You will never get out of pot or pan anything fundamentally better than what went into it. Cooking is not alchemy; there is no magic in the pot.” - 'Dishes & Beverages Of The Old South', Martha McCulloch-Williams (1913)

I've done a lot of things in my life that made me feel all "pioneer woman-ish" -- growing up with livestock and "living off the land" will do that to you. So, I've plucked chickens and canned food and grown and harvested gardens. I've milked goats and butchered a deer.

Still, yesterday was all about new things for me. You see, I got shrimp. Fresh off the boat shrimp from my local "New Hampshire" store (that's not its actual name, but it's what DD and I call it). They have all local stuff, and the fish lady had mentioned last week that she'd have shrimp, caught on Thursday and picked up by her Thursday night from the docks at Rye Beach.

Doesn't get much fresher than that. I was excited. And then I got my shrimp... I don't know what I was expecting, but it wasn't shrimp that looked like, well, SHRIMP:

NOW what do I do?

Yep, I've only ever bought shrimp with its head cut off and no feelers, etc. Sometimes I've had "peel and eat" shrimp but never shrimp with this much stuff still there.

I turned to the internet, which I have to say wasn't a lot of help, and then one of my friends (whose parents were off the boat from Portugal and did this type of thing all the time) helped me out.

I had to twist off their heads (or cut, but honestly twisting was faster and easier, once I got over the "ick" factor) and peel off the shells. DD was right in there helping, though she kept taking bits to look at under her microscope AND dissected one head just to see what it was like underneath. Heck, there's never a bad time for a teaching moment when you homeschool ...

So, after nearly an hour (the first half was learning, after that it went FAST) we had shrimp that looked like what I always pictured shrimp as:

I was also told NOT to toss out the shells and the heads, but instead to boil them for broth and use it to make bisque ... so I did:

I've never had bisque before. I have to go to the store today to get some cream... and give it a try.

Anyway, for dinner, I sauteed those shrimp with some minced garlic and butter and tossed in a few portabella mushrooms that I had. And let me tell you: I've NEVER in my life had shrimp so tender, so tasty, so truly amazing. Fresh matters. And, while it was kind of a pain to process them, I may never buy any other kind of shrimp again.

Next week, I think I'll try some fish...


You Are Almond Shampoo

You are chic and sophisticated. You always look polished... and effortlessly so.

You are extremely subtle. You abhor anything or anyone who is too over the top.

You are known for your good taste. You always seem to know what will work.

Friends usually follow what you do, but by that time you've moved on to something else.




Dru said...

That reminds me of the time I was in the Bahamas and ordered fish and they served it to me intact with the eyes looking right at me.

Glad you were able to enjoy your fresh shrimp.

You Are Tea Tree Shampoo

You are a strong and powerful person. You are admired by many for your courage.

You are totally no nonsense. You shoot straight from the hip and tell it like it is.

You don't sugarcoat anything, but you are still a positive person. There's no room for negativity in your life.

You are assertive and proactive. You can't just think for long... you have to act!

This is 50% accurate

Have a good Sunday.

Brandy said...

We lived in Biloxi, MS on the coast and Chris would go out and cast-net and catch shrimp. I let him deal with shucking and cleaning. *g*
Sounds like a new experience that turned out well!

I, too, am Tea Tree Shampoo. Don't think it's very accurate.

I hope you're having a Blessed Sunday!