Shrimp and Sustainable Seafood
When dining out, I rarely order shrimp unless I know from where they’re sourced. The reason I’m so selective with seafood - and shrimp especially - is because most of it is imported from huge factory farms in China and can be laced with antibiotics that the FDA has yet to regulate. In fact, 86% of America's seafood is imported.* If you've read any of my posts, you know that I try and avoid mass produced foods and wines as much as possible.
Seafood is one of the most important foods to eat sustainably, and I always try to eat species that are as local as possible and not depleted. Oceana's Sustainable Seafood Guide is a handy PDF to have while you're shopping for seafood and is organized by region on their site. More and more fish sellers, like Whole Foods, provide fish that are in accordance with this guide. One of my favorite local fish markets is Greenpoint Fish in Brooklyn, NY. They name their core values as transparency and traceability, two missions that are so important when it comes to food production and consumption.
I buy shrimp only if I can find it locally caught, and when I'm home in Florida that means buying Mayport Shrimp. I never thought shrimp would be one of my favorite seafoods until I ate one of these. They have a sweet and buttery meat similar to lobster, big juicy heads, and ligaments sharp enough to cut your lip as you’re eating them (known from experience, a bloody lesson in eating shrimp too enthusiastically).
Wild Man Foods (Gainesville, FL) religiously has White Mayports available every Wednesday at the farmer’s market straight from the docks. An essential requirement to cooking these is that they are served with the heads on. True, the tail is where all the meat is. But, the head is like a vessel allows you to taste the life of the shrimp: refreshingly salty and briny and a little bit irony. My favorite way to cook them is to marinate them in a garlic citrus dressing and grill them. If you don't have access to a grill, you can also sautée. These are so good that they deserve to be the centerpiece of the meal, not served as an appetizer. They pair beautifully with greens, polenta, and beer.
White Mayport Shrimp with Mustard Greens
- For the citrus, use whatever you might have lying around. Always taste marinade before adding shrimp to make sure that there is enough sweet compared to acid. For example, if you only have fresh lemons and limes, add more honey and this morning's orange juice if you have it.
- The shrimp cannot marinade for very long because the acid in the shrimp might turn it into ceviche before you cook them. If the shrimp start turning pink, take out of marinade and cook.
- Don’t forget to clean the shrimp by rinsing with water.
- Reserve shells, legs, and heads to use for a stock later. Can be stored in freezer for 3 months.
Juice of: 2 grapefruits, 3 oranges, 1 tangerine, 1 lemon, 2 limes
Reserve a few wedges of lime for garnish
1 tablespoon honey
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon grated ginger
6 cloves garlic, minced
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 pound white mayport shrimp
Clean shrimp and set aside. Do not peel or devein. Rinse mustard greens and set aside.
Stir all ingredients together for marinade, except for the oil. Gradually whisk in the oil until the dressing is combined. Separation is normal, this will not emulsify.
Add the shrimp to the marinade and place covered in the refrigerator. Depending on the size of your shrimp, marinate for 20 minutes to an hour.
Take shrimp out of marinade. Place shrimp on grill (or sautée pan) and cook for around 3-4 minutes on each side. They should be pink and firm but not hard.
Grill or sautée mustard greens.
Plate shrimp on top of mustard greens. Garnish with lime and lemon. Serve with a bowl meant for shells and lots of napkins.