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Tuesday, April 28 2009

Only those who are allergic to shellfish would doubt that Shrimp Scampi is probably on the menu in heaven. St. Peter himself no doubt munches on the garlicky treats from time to time. I'm not sure if they're cooked on a stove or grilled over charcoal in those green pastures in the sky, but I'm sure the shrimp tastes divine.

My education involving shrimp began one evening in a little hole in the wall oyster bar named Jimmy D's American Shrimp Restaurant and Fish Market! Located in a little fishing town on Florida's northwestern Gulf Coast, it was a fish market on one side of the small cinder block building and a fish market on the other.

The café were packed with people wanting seafood, so we sat on a wooden bench and waited for someone to leave the tiny café so we could take their place; there were only six tables.

After consuming two large orders of Shrimp Scampi, I asked the chef, who was also the owner of this little fish shack to give me the recipe for the best Shrimp Scampi I had ever eaten. He surprised me with the same simple recipe I had been using at home, which included the main ingredients in any Scampi dish; shrimp, garlic and lemon. There was however, a secret ingredient; offshore shrimp!

He uses only Wild American Shrimp, harvested off the gulf coast or the southern Atlantic Ocean. Jimmy D told me that most of the shrimp eaten in the United States is raised in either Asia or Latin America. Foreign shrimp simply does not taste as good as home grown.

I discovered later that almost 90% of shrimp consumed in America is foreign raised on farms in Southeast Asia, East Asia, South Asia and South America. The American shrimper simply cannot compete with the flood of farmed raised shrimp that is shipped into the United States.

Wild American Shrimp is catching on with folks all over the U.S., who like me, have decided to ask for the best. We'll pay a little more per pound at the market at the market, than pond raised shrimp that have been shipped over the ocean in a container ship.

Foreign shrimp have large amounts of fungicides, antibiotics, pesticides and algaecides in them, while Wild American shrimp feed on plankton and other protein sources in its own natural environment. They are more nutritious and have a more flavorful taste than their Asian or Latin American cousins. Simply cook both American Wild Shrimp and foreign shrimp and eat them. Wild shrimp will win the taste test hands down!

Besides the chemicals introduced to foreign shrimp as they are grown in earthen ponds, much of the shrimp are raised on grained based food. This gives them a bland taste compared to the products harvested off the southern shores of the United States.

I like preparing Shrimp Scampi almost as much as eating them. Here's how I cook them on the charcoal grill:
• 2 lbs. raw large shrimp
• 1/4 cups olive oil
• 3 cloves crushed garlic
• 1/2 black pepper
• juice of 1 large lemon
• 1 tablespoon lemon juice
• 3 cloves crushed garlic
• 1/2 black pepper
• 1/2 cup melted butter
• 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
• 1/3 cup finely chopped chives 2 cloves garlic, crushed
• salt to taste

Mix the ingredients in large bowl. On the underside of the tail, split each shrimp. This allows the mixture to penetrate the shell. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for a couple of hours.

Allow the fire in the grill to become medium hot. I use a fish basket to cook my shrimp, held about 6 inches from the coals. Cook 2-3 minutes per side, or until they turn pink. Don't over cook.

More markets around the country are carrying certified American Live Shrimp. If yours doesn't, there are plenty of places on the internet that will ship them to you. Happy eating!

Bob Alexander is well experienced in outdoor cooking, fishing and leisure living. Bob is also the author and owner of this article. Visit his sites at:

Posted by: Send a Meal AT 10:26 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email

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