I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – I’m so fortunate to live here on the beautiful Eastern Shore, with the abundance of fresh seafood and wonderful produce available all throughout the year. Whether it’s buying crabs right off the boats in Crisfield in the summer, buying bushels of oysters from the Chincoteague Bay in December, or getting up early to do some rockfishing with Dad in the fall – it’s the environment that I’ve been raised in, and I couldn’t imagine it any other way. I’m so thankful to call this place home, and have the opportunity to raise my family here.
That being said, I’m very excited to announce that tomorrow I’ll (along with Jon) be heading to Charleston, SC to compete as a finalist in the Avalon Great Foods Of America Recipe Challenge at the Charleston Food & Wine Festival. It’s such an incredible honor to represent my great state of Maryland, and I can’t thank Avalon Winery enough for sponsoring it. For this foodie who also happens to be a history buff, visiting Charleston is pretty much a dream come true. I’ve got a couple restaurants lined up that I have to visit, and the old tree on John’s Island is on my list too. Any other must-do’s in that wonderful city? It’s going to be our first time visiting, but I’m fairly certain it won’t be our last!
Ok, so enough about me. Let’s talk about these shrimp! My favorite fish monger closes for a couple months after Christmas, but thankfully – he just reopened on Valentine’s Day! Ray has been a waterman for as long as I can remember. He’s also had his restaurant, Ray’s Shanty for about as long as I can remember too. It’s the place to go for fresh fish, THE BEST hushpuppies known to man, and gorgeous fresh shrimp. There’s a seafood market on the side of the restaurant too – gorgeous scallops, heads-on shrimp, and various filets of fish; most of which Ray has caught himself on his charter boat. Ray taught my mom his way to cook shrimp over 20 years ago, and it can’t get any easier. While technically, they aren’t steamed – they are always perfect, and you’ll never have an overcooked shrimp again. They’re great to season with lots of Old Bay and eat as is, peel and serve in a martini glass for a fancy shrimp cocktail, or chill down and make shrimp salad with.
2 quarts water
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1 tsp black peppercorns
1/2 tsp whole coriander
1/4 tsp whole allspice
1 bay leaf
3 Tbsp Old Bay (or any seafood seasoning)
Lemon wedges, for garnish
Combine water, vinegar, peppercorns, coriander, allspice, and bay leaf in a large saucepan*. Bring to a boil. Once water comes to a boil, add shrimp. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the water comes back to a boil. Remove from heat and drain IMMEDIATELY once water returns to boil. Remove bay leaves and toss shrimp with seafood seasoning. Serve with cocktail sauce and lemon wedges.
* You could also use a steaming spice mix. I love this one from Blue Crab Bay Co.