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I Love Apalachicola Bay Shrimp

Most of the shrimp we eat speak a foreign language. Like most folks, I’d never really given a lot of thought to where the shrimp I eat come from. During my last trip to my favorite fishing grounds, Apalachicola Bay and St. George Island, Florida, I learned quite a lot about shrimp! Before this I was just pleased to be able to eat all the shrimp I wanted and not care where they had spent the night before!

My family and I were preparing a huge pot of shrimp that we’d bought from the back of a pickup truck on the side of the road; next to the long bridge from St. George Island to East Point on the mainland. We were using a couple of recipes that we had just gotten from the fellow who had sold us our shrimp.

Our fish salesman’s name was Ernest, the captain of his own shrimp boat, the “Mary Nelle”. He’d lived in East Point, Florida for most of his life; shrimping for the last 12 years. He sells most of what he catches to local seafood distributors and picks up extra spending money selling fresh shrimp out of his pick-up truck. He is also a fountain of knowledge about the shrimping industry, most of which is not excellent if you’re an American shrimp fishermen!

Bragging on his product, I mentioned that the last time I was on the island the shrimp I bought from him then was tasty. He answered by saying that the shrimp that lived in the waters off Apalachicola and St. George Island were the best tasting you could buy anywhere. Probably Texas and Louisiana shrimp fishermen would contradict that claim.

He then told me that 85% of all shrimp consumed in American came from foreign countries such as China, Taiwan and Viet Nam. By some estimates it’s more like 90 %.
I don’t know about you, but I want my shrimp tasting like the last time I dipped into the Gulf of Mexico! I now know that some of the shrimp I’ve eaten in the past that tasted like boiled shoe laces were really foreign shrimp. Besides that, about half of that is farmed raised, never having to fight for its existence in the ocean surrounded by ferocious predators. I reckon that’s what gives the shrimp its unique taste; dread! You don’t get that same taste with farm raised shrimp.

The reason for this huge importation of shrimp of course is money. Nations all over the world supply us with shrimp, most at a lower cost than our own domestic fishermen can provide. Fishermen here in the United States though, haven’t taken this matter lightly. With slogans such as “Wild American Shrimp!” and “Do You Know Where Your Shrimp Is From?” are educating consumers in America to what excellent tasting shrimp is all about!

Ernest, the shrimper, admitted that even after all the years on the water, he stills likes the taste of shrimp. He was delighted to give us a couple of his recipes for shrimp. Here’s how a real shrimper likes his shrimp!

ERNEST’S SHRIMP SCAMPI:

Half pound butter

2 pounds large shrimp, peeled and deveined

5 mediums cloves garlic, crushed and minced

4 tablespoons chopped parsley

3 tablespoons lemon juice

2 tablespoons Tabasco sauce

PREPARATION:

In a large skillet, heat butter over medium heat until butter stops foaming, usually 30 to 40 seconds. Add the shrimp, garlic, Tabasco sauce, lemon juice and parsley. Cook until shrimp are just turning pink, 4 to 5 minutes, turning often. Serve immediately.

For your own culinary treat, try to get American shrimp whenever possible. They taste better and as a bonus, they speak our language.

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:

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One Comment on “I Love Apalachicola Bay Shrimp”

  • Anita Grove wrote on 5 June, 2009, 20:46

    Thanks for the glowing reviews of Apalachicola Bay shrimp. Wild caught shrimp is so much better than imported and it helps sustain our economy.

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