NC Shrimp…A Quick Treat Boiled or Grilled to Perfection!

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Tasty, healthy and versatile, shrimp are a favorite of most seafood eaters. In North Carolina, wild-caught shrimp is one of the most important seafoods to the coastal economy, providing the livelihood for many commercial fishermen, a popular seafood for residents and tourists, and the bait-of-choice for many saltwater anglers. As a rule of thumb, historically 75% of N.C. shrimp are harvested in internal waters, with 25% coming from the Atlantic Ocean, predominantly off our southern coast.

North Carolina’s shrimp season typically starts mid-summer with brown shrimp. Brown shrimp are typically found in the sound and are bottom dwellers giving a robust flavor. Though greentails can be found in the sound most are harvested in the ocean during the fall and early winter months. They are more of a top water shrimp giving them a sweeter flavor.

Shrimp are high in protein, low in fat, low in carbs and naturally filled with healthy minerals and vitamins including iron, and omega-3. Commercial shrimpers make sure they do everything possible to keep the shrimp the freshest available. For example, putting the shrimp in an ice/saltwater brine to cool them as they are harvested.

Shrimp are very easy to prepare and can be a great substitute in most recipes.

How to Boil Shrimp: First things first: how long do you boil shrimp? The cook time is just 2 minutes, until they are bright pink and cooked through! If you’re using shrimp with the shell on (which we recommend), you’ll need to remove the shells after cooking them.

  • 1 pound of large shrimp
  • Salt
  • Lemon
  • Old Bay Seasoning (optional)

You’ll bring a large pot of salted water to a boil with some fresh lemon juice, and Old Bay. Once boiling, add the shrimp and boil until they’re pink and cooked through, about 2 minutes. Remove the shrimp to an ice bath, which is a bowl of water and ice. This will stop the cooking immediately, leaving the shrimp perfectly tender. If you cooked the shrimp with the shell on, remove. If you’re serving for shrimp cocktail, you may like to leave the tails on. You can flavor the shrimp with a bit more, or to your liking. Then enjoy!

Here are three recipes for indoor or outdoor grilled shrimp that I think you will enjoy!

Shrimp and Okra Kebabs with Grilled Peaches & Jalapeño Vinaigrette

serves 4

  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil, divided, plus more for grill grates
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated lime zest plus 1/4 cup fresh lime juice (from 2 limes)
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped shallot
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped seeded jalapeno
  • 2 teaspoons pure maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons salt, divided, plus more to taste
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper, divided, plus more to taste
  • 1 pound peeled and deveined tail-on raw medium shrimp
  • 3 ounces fresh okra, halved lengthwise (about 1 cup)
  • 3 large fresh peaches (about 1 1/4 pounds), halved and pitted
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Preheat a gas or charcoal grill to very high (500°F to 550°F). Whisk together 1/2 cup oil, lime zest and juice, shallot, jalapeño, maple syrup, garlic, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper in a large bowl. Reserve 1/2 cup dressing for finishing. Add shrimp to bowl with remaining dressing; toss to coat. Let stand 10 minutes.

Toss okra with 1 tablespoon oil, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Remove shrimp from dressing; discard dressing. Thread shrimp onto four 12-inch skewers (presoaked if wooden) alternately with okra. Sprinkle skewers with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Brush cut sides of peaches with remaining 1 tablespoon oil, and sprinkle with remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and remaining 1/8 teaspoon pepper.

Place peaches, cut sides down, on oiled grill grates; grill, uncovered, until grill marks appear, 1 to 3 minutes. Grill shrimp-and-okra skewers on oiled grill grates, uncovered, until charred in spots and shrimp are opaque, 3 to 4 minutes, flipping once halfway through grilling time.

Cut each peach half into four wedges, and divide among four serving plates. Top with shrimp-and-okra kebabs. Stir parsley into reserved 1/2 cup dressing, and drizzle over kebabs and peaches. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Grilled Shrimp with Oregano and Lemon

Serves 4-5

Grilled Shrimp with Oregano and Lemon

Grilled Shrimp with Oregano and Lemon

The sauce for this shrimp is a simple version of Italy’s salmoriglio, typically made with lemon and herbs in a mortar. The sauce is also delicious spooned over grilled swordfish or any other meaty fish.

  • 1/2 cup salted capers, rinsed, soaked for 1 hour, and drained
  • 1/2 cup oregano leaves
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 1/2 pounds large shrimp, shelled and deveined
  • Salt
  • Crusty bread, for serving

On a cutting board, finely chop the drained capers with the oregano leaves and garlic. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and stir in 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, along with the lemon zest and lemon juice. Season the sauce with pepper.

Light a grill. In a large bowl, toss the shrimp with the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil and season lightly with salt and pepper. Thread the shrimp onto pre-soaked wooden skewers or metal skewers and grill over high heat, turning once, until the shrimp are lightly charred and cooked through, about 3 minutes per side. Remove the shrimp from the skewers and transfer them to a platter. Spoon the sauce on top and serve with crusty bread.

Tip: The sauce can be refrigerated overnight. Bring it to room temperature before serving.

Hawaiian-Style Garlic Butter Shrimp

Serves 4

Hawaiian Style Garlic Butter Shrimp

Hawaiian Style Garlic Butter Shrimp

This recipe is Hawaiian inspired. The shrimp are marinated in a mixture of Italian dressing,
mayonnaise, lime juice, and salt, then grilled and tossed in roasted garlic butter. The result:
unbelievably sweet, juicy grilled shrimp. You can make the garlic butter in advance, and use any
leftover garlic butter on pasta, fish, or toast.

Roasted Garlic Butter:

  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup peeled garlic cloves (from 1 head garlic)
  • 1/2 cup butter (4 ounces), at room temperature

Marinade from Shrimp:

  • 1/2 cup bottled Italian dressing
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup fresh Key lime juice (from about 8 Key limes)
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 2 pounds peeled and deveined tail-on raw large shrimp
  • 1/d cup chopped scallions
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 teaspoon paprika

To make the roasted garlic butter:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Place oil and garlic in a small baking pan; cover with aluminum foil. Roast garlic in preheated oven until soft and light golden brown, about 40 minutes. Let cool 1 hour. Remove garlic from oil; place garlic in bowl of a food processor. (Reserve oil for another use.) Add butter to food processor, and process until smooth. Let butter mixture stand at room temperature until ready to use.

To make the shrimp:
While roasted garlic cools, stir together Italian dressing, mayonnaise, lime juice, and salt. Add shrimp, and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate 15 minutes.

Heat a grill pan over medium-high. Remove shrimp from marinade, and discard marinade. Grill shrimp until cooked through, 1 to 2 minutes per side. Transfer shrimp to a large bowl. Add roasted garlic butter, and toss until butter is melted and shrimp are coated. Sprinkle with scallions, parsley, and paprika; toss to combine. Transfer to a serving plate.

Tip: The roasted garlic butter can be covered and stored in refrigerator up to 1 week.

Sources for this article NC Extension Food and Nutrition, Meds instead of Meds educational program. For more information about the Foods and Nutrition please contact Louise L. Hinsley, Extension Agent, Family Consumer Science at the Beaufort County Center of N.C. Cooperative Extension, 155 Airport Road, Washington, 252-946-0111.