Just because we as recreational anglers don’t catch certain species doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be on our menus at home. Case and point – shrimp. This is just one of those things where it’s better left to the commercial trappers. There’s nobody out there spending time and money (and jumping through commercial license hoops) just to look for shrimp/spot prawns in our region, especially with a micro limit of 35. Also, looking specifically at the spot prawn fishery off our coast, this isn’t like hoop netting for lobster. This is serious work with rope lengths on traps commonly going over 1,000 feet. That’s a long haul, requiring a lot of gear and work, for not a ton in return. So, between the work to get them mixed with increasing gas prices, your question is answered next time you ask, “Why is fresh, shrimp/prawns so expensive?”
There are a number of options, some more affordable than others, but the key is to source them. Shrimp are shipped globally but purchasing domestically from a sustainable source is key. Between spot prawn, white, brown, pink, tiger, and rock shrimp… they are readily available through just about every fish monger out there (so this is one of those instances where we leave it to the pros). Unless (1) the shrimp/prawns are sold live from a tank or (2) your trusted fish monger tells you exactly how long the shrimp has been defrosted, it’s suggested to buy shrimp frozen and whole. They are easy to defrost under cold water in a colander and this assures that the shrimp is as fresh as possible.
Next Recipe: Seared Poke with Asian Stir Fry & Jasmine Rice
A few things to know and look out for are as follows. First, the USDA doesn’t enforce organic standards, which means your shrimp could say organic, sustainable, natural, etc. and nobody is checking. Don’t fall for it. Second, you should know that if a shrimp has been deveined, peeled, frozen, beheaded, packaged, or cooked, the regulation of the USDA doesn’t require that you know where or how it was caught. Considering it’s supposed to be labeled with country of origin and if caught wild vs. farmed, that’s a huge loophole. So, when it comes to shrimp, a tight relationship with your fish monger is essential. If you don’t have one, now’s the time to find your trusted source!
There are limitless ways to prepare shrimp/prawns, but we’ll start with an easy one. In a hurry? Make shrimp curry. I threw this together in 30 minutes with a few leftovers and random pantry items. Not just that, but it provided leftovers that were quick and easy to heat up for lunch the next day. Nothing fancy here but fulfilling the need for something hot and filling on a cold night.
- Deveined and shelled shrimp, chopped into 3 pieces per shrimp. Feel free to keep shrimp whole, with the head and shell on. I chose this preparation because it’s easy for kids and takes a little shrimp a long way.
- Cyprus flake salt
- 1 TBSP Harissa oil for sautéing (this is your spice source)
- 2 bottles yellow curry sauce
- ½ can coconut milk
- ½ large yellow onion (or whole, small) chopped
- 1 “pinky-size” finger of ginger, peeled and minced
- 1 clove of garlic, peeled and minced
- 1 russet potato, cubed (I used leftover roasted potatoes)
- 3 large carrots (heirloom carrots add some color)
- 1 pack of fresh peas
- 2 TBSP vegetable stock to prevent over-reducing/thickening
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Mint leaves for garnish/taste
- JASMINE RICE:
- Jasmine rice based on amount eating (RINSE before cooking). Brown rice and traditional white rice are fine for substitutions.
- Start by cooking the jasmine rice. Read the directions because it’s a bit different than your traditional white rice. Be sure to rinse multiple times.
- Over medium heat, add the onions and carrots to the hot Harissa oil.
- Once onions start to become translucent, add the ginger and then a few minutes later add the garlic.
- Deglaze the pan with vegetable stock and then add your yellow curry and the coconut milk. Stir, add the potatoes, then cover over low heat.
- When the carrots and potatoes are fork tender, turn the heat up to medium high, add the shrimp and peas, and cook until done (2-3 minutes).
- With the rice now done, put a serving in a bowl and spoon the shrimp curry over the top. Tear some fresh mint leaves over the top and serve.