Saturday, September 7, 2013

Shrimp Shrimp

One of the many "perks" of living in Florida is the abundance and availability of seafood. I am still not a huge fish fan but I am working on it. My tastes tend to run towards shellfish and crustaceans.

Last night I made Shrimp Scampi (I have to laugh to myself when I say that because scampi is the plural of scampo which means shrimp in I made Shrimp Shrimp last night).

I made the scampi dish from a kind of shrimp I have never eaten before (heck, I didn't even know it existed). I used Royal Reds. I received an email from a local seafood shop saying these beauties were available. I decided to give them a try.

Royal Reds are perhaps the softest, sweetest and most delicate of all our native shrimp species. These shrimp never see the light of day, preferring the cold, dark depths out at the edge where the gently sloping Gulf's bottom drops abruptly off the continental shelf. They live at depths from 1,200 to over a half mile down. Due to their delicate texture, cooking time for this shrimp is cut almost in half. Royal Reds are naturally a bit salty, so never use salt when cooking with them.

I purchased two pounds of Royal Reds with the heads still on. I pulled the heads from the tails and then shelled and deveined them.

When all were cleaned I was left with a little over 12 ounces of shrimp meat (barely enough to make my scampi dish and feed both The Colonel and I with a bit left over so that Yam could try them when she got home from work that evening...that is why I normally buy shrimp with no heads but the Royal Reds were only available with heads on). I cut the shrimp into bite-sized made it seem like there was more there than actually was.

I sautéed some garlic in olive oil for about 30 seconds and then I tossed in the shrimp. As the shrimp cooked I put in a bit of dried parsley (I thought I had some fresh), a pinch of red pepper flakes and a little lemon juice. I put the scampi on a bit of pasta.

The Colonel and I were very pleased with the taste and texture of the Royal Reds. They were soft to the bite, not at all chewy, and their flavor was somewhat lobster like.