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Shrimp is probably one of the most popular crustaceans. Shrimp are most commonly available frozen, as they are often processed and flash-frozen either on the boat or as soon as the boats are unloaded at shore in order to preserve flavor and quality. Fresh shrimp are highly perishable, but they may be available in some regions of the United States, notably the Gulf of Mexico and Chesapeake Bay regions, and they are both salt water and fresh water species. The flesh has a sweet flavor and a firm, almost crisp texture.

Americans eat more shrimp than any other fresh or frozen seafood; only canned tuna is a more popular fish. Yet although buying shrimp offers a myriad of choices, most of us give no more thought to buying ten-dollar-a-pound shrimp than to two-dollar-a-pound tuna.

Both farm raised and wild shrimp can be rich, flavorful, and firm, or insipid, bitter, and mushy. Some shrimp are raised on a high protein pellets not unlike those fed to aquacultured salmon, but others live on sealed bays, where they get their nutrients from seawater. And, since the population is high and the diet is not dense there are times were these are downright watery.

Spicy Grilled Shrimp

  • 2 pounds large shrimp
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1-tablespoon course salt
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1-teaspoon paprika
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • lemon wedges

Mince the garlic with the salt; mix it with the cayenne and paprika, the make it into a paste with the olive oil and lemon juice. Smear the paste all over the shrimp. Grill the shrimp 2-3 minutes per side. Serve immediately. Yields 4 servings.

Shrimp Jambalaya

  • 6 ounces salt pork
  • 6 ounces onion diced
  • 6 ounces green bell pepper diced
  • 6 ounces red bell pepper diced
  • 6 ounces celery diced
  • 8 ounces ham diced
  • 5 cloves garlic minced
  • 8 ounces long grain rice
  • 2 teaspoons salt or to taste
  • Tabasco sauce to taste
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 3 pints fish stock
  • 8 ounces garbanzo beans, cooked and drained
  • 3 ounces olives pitted
  • 1 ½ pounds tomato concassé
  • 2 ¼ pounds large shrimp peeled and deveined
  • 20 okra
  • 3 tablespoons parsley chopped

Render the salt pork until it is lightly browned. Add the onions, peppers, celery, ham, and garlic; cook them over high heat until aroma is apparent. Add the rice; cook until the rice is coated with the rendered fat. (It should appear shiny.) Add the salt, thyme, Tabasco, and stock. Bring the mixture to a boil. Add the garbanzos, olives, and tomato concassé. Cover the pot and cook the mixture over low heat for 20 minutes, or until the rice is nearly tender. Add the shrimp; cover and cook until the shrimp are barely cooked through and the rice is tender. Sauté the okra quickly and add it to the jambalaya. Adjust seasoning to taste with salt, pepper, and Tabasco. Garnish with parsley.

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