Enjoy Fresh Gulf Shrimp!

Where to purchase, and how to clean, cook, and enjoy!

Locally caught gulf shrimp are delicious, pink, and a real treat. There are several shrimping boats and stores located on the north side of the Mantanzas Pass Bridge. I usually end up purchasing from Trico Shrimp and Seafood Market.

The shrimp boats go out at all and various times of the night and day. Sometimes you can see the boats way off shore from the beach. When you are on the water in the Mantanzas Harbor, you will see several of them docked.

Gulf shrimp is a real treat, and can get expensive if you like to eat it as frequently as I do. So, take a short ride over to the shrimp docks for the freshest selection. Better yet, plan to have lunch at one of the numerous channel side restaurants first, the boat traffic can be very entertaining. Dock Fords, Bonita Bills and Parrot Key never disappoint. *These restaurants are also a great destination if you rent a boat. *

Trico Shrimp Co. is always busy and has a wonderful selection of fresh shrimp, and other yummy seafood.

The store carries shrimp in several sizes. The shrimp will be labeled with their size, approximately pieces in a pound, and the price per pound. These shrimp come in the shell, with the heads removed. The store also has another option where the shrimp are not sorted by size and include the head intact. This is usually the cheapest per pound price.

Make your selection! Add cocktail sauce and de-shelling tools (see below) if you like. Get those shrimp home cold! The shrimp you are purchasing here were harvested hours ago, and have not been frozen, but they must stay cold. Shrimp loose their freshness very quickly if allowed to get warm. You can store the bagged shrimp in the fridge at the house with the ice for a few hours, but seriously, quit your dawdling, and lets get these babies cleaned.

Clean Shrimp = Yummy Eats!

I purchased some unsorted shrimp with the heads on
($9.95/pound) and some Jumbo headless ($14.95/pound). I also purchased a container of cocktail sauce ($2.99) and a shrimp deveiner tool ($2.99). I have always used a fork to devein shrimp, but the girl in the store demonstrated the new tool and said it has saved them tons of time.

Trico packages the shrimp in a plastic bag and asks if you would like ice. It is very important to keep the shrimp chilled, so yes to the ice.

I have never minded cleaning shrimp, I find it kind of relaxing. Maybe it is because it is the one thing I remember doing with my Grandmother. Standing at the sink in her Key West home, her showing me how to clean the shrimp and what spices to cook them in…

Anyway, Don’t be scared of shrimp with heads; they are easy to remove. I Googled “What to do with shrimp heads and shells” The number one answer is, make Shrimp Stock, of course. I don’t usually do that kind of cooking while I am staying at the FLouse, but I bet it is yummy!

For me, not saving the heads is going to produce much more garbage !stinky garbage!

Just pull with a little twist to remove the heads, and then set aside or discard.

Once you have removed the heads, cleaning these shrimp is the same as as the jumbo shrimp.

Since I am in controll, all of the shell, including the tail shell, is removed. Who wants to get their fingers full of food if they dont have to.

The old school method of cleaning and de-veining is with a fork tine. Insert the tine into the mud vein, then push towards the tail and rip through the top. Pull off all the shell and rinse off the mud vein and any other debris.

The last time I was at Trico, they introduced me to the shrimper, by Morty the Knife Man. The sales lady demonstrated how easy the too made cleaning the shrimp and said it is saving them time. They are able to clean pounds of shrimp much quicker than before.

Marinate the shrimp

Once the shrimp is cleaned and the shells removed, it’s time to marinate. The quickest easiest and yummiest is to put the shrimp in a bag or bowl and toss them with Italian dressing.

Ken’s Steak House dressing was in the fridge; so that is what I used. Through all of the cleaning, it is important to keep the shrimp chilled. Get the marinating shrimp into the fridge as soon as you can. Then find a cool drink and something fun to do until it is time to cook!

As a point of information, this is a visual of the difference between the garbage generated by shrimp shells alone, and garbage generated by shrimp heads and shells. Unless I’m making stock, I’m skipping the heads next time.

Cook the shrimp

Saute the shrimp in a pan on the stove, or toss them into a grill pan and enjoy shrimp on the barbi (barbecue grill). It doesn’t take long to cook the shrimp. As soon as the color goes to an opaque white, they are done!

Drizzle with butter and a little lemon if you like. Cocktail sauce can also be served on the side. They are fresh and delicious, and best enjoyed al- fresco in the Gulf salt air.

Where to go and what to do at the south end of FMB