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From Jacksonville Beach, FL

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

NE Florida favorite food is shrimply delicious

                                                                              Shrimp boat with nets down.

As versatile as hamburger, but far tastier, the little shrimp where I live in NE Florida is one of our most popular foods. Local restaurant menus feature him boiled, baked, steamed, stuffed, barbequed, marinated, and rolled in coconut and fried.
He's equally welcome at a tailgate party and a formal dinner. Regional cookbooks devote pages to him, and Fernandina and Jacksonville Beach honor him with weekends of festivals.
His popularity is increased by his abundance in NE Florida waters. Shrimp boats unload him at Mayport. Locals bring him up in nets thrown from bridges and docks. He is immensely popular and very delicious.  If you're not lucky enough to live close to where he lives, you can probably buy him in the grocery store frozen.  Actually, frozen works just as well in most Florida recipes. 
Try some of our favorite recipes and you'll agree:  
Preparing to cook
Uncooked shrimp is also referred to as "green" shrimp.
The first step in cooking shrimp is to wash them, cut along the back and wash out the black sand vein just under the surface that runs the length of the back. Usually 11/2 pounds raw shrimp makes 3/4 pound when cooked and shelled, and depending on appetite serves 4.
Confused by shrimp size and grading? Shrimp are graded according to the number per pound: Jumbo=under 25 per pound; Large=25-30 per pound; medium=30-42 per pound; small=42 and over per pound.
The secret to tasty shrimp is do not overcook. If overdone, he loses his tenderness and succulence. When he turns pink, he's done.
Shrimp in the shell boiled in beer
11/2 pounds shrimp, washed, heads and feelers removed
1 quart beer
1 bay leaf
8-12 whole allspice
1 minced garlic clove
Put all ingredients except the shrimp into a pot and bring to a boil. Add shrimp and cover the 
pot. When the mixture boils again, reduce heat and simmer for 4-5 minutes. Drain and chill
shrimp. Eat with cocktail sauce and crackers.
Cocktail sauce
1 cup catsup 
2-3 tablespoons horseradish 
1 teaspoon lemon juice.
Mix well and chill. 
Peel the chilled shrimp and dip into the cocktail sauce.  Take a bite of cracker.  Serves 4

Barbequed Shrimp
2 pounds fresh jumbo raw shrimp
Barbeque sauce
Make your own barbeque sauce or purchase a bottle of prepared sauce.
Quick and Easy Barbeque sauce
1/2 cup sliced onion
2 tablespoons vinegar
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon hot sauce (like Tabasco or Louisiana)
1/2 cup catsup
1/4 cup water
Simmer all the ingredients together for about 15 minutes.
While the sauce is cooking, line broiler pan with foil and arrange shrimp on it. Pour sauce over 
shrimp and place in over broiler about 3" from heat. Broil 5-8 minutes, according to size of 
shrimp. Remove shrimp to platter.
Shrimp can also be skewered and grilled over hot coals for 5-8 minutes. Serves 4-5
Shrimp Victoria
1-1/12 pounds large shrimp, deveined, washed
1/2 pound sliced, fresh mushrooms
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup sherry
2 tablespoons minced onion
1/4 cup butter
1 tablespoon flour
1 1/2 cup sour cream (lite or non fat if you're counting calories)
Saute shrimp and onion in butter until the shrimp are pink. Add mushrooms, cook 5 minutes, 
add another tablespoon of butter if the mixture is dry. Sprinkle mixture with flour and salt. Add 
sherry and sour cream. Cook on medium-low until hot. Serve over rice or pasta. Serves 4
I'd serve key lime pie for dessert.
Florida Fruit & Shrimp Salad
1 can of pineapple chunks, drained well ( or sections from 1 fresh pineapple)
2 cups cooked, small shrimp, shelled and deveined
1 large orange, peeled and sectioned
1 grapefruit, peeled and sectioned (canned sections, well-drained can be used)
1 avocado, peeled and diced
1/2 cup chopped cashew nuts
Gently stir the fruit, avocado, and cashew nuts together. Divide into six portions and put on 

six lettuce pieces. Arrange shrimp on top. Chill and serve with honey dressing.

Honey Dressing
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons white wine
1 teaspoon honey
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup olive or salad oil
Combine all ingredients, shake well. Chill before using.

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