Remember those scenes of hardy shrimp boats cruising the South Carolina coast in movies like “Forrest Gump” and “The Prince of Tides”? Who would have guessed that the tiny, tasty, tenacious shrimp would have a day of its own, but May 10 is National Shrimp Day!
Though most of us think of the scrumptious crustacean in terms of its culinary qualities when grilled, scampi’d, fried, Pad Thai’d, saute’d, gumbo’d, creole’d, in shrimp cocktail, shrimp salad or maybe over pasta or rice, the fact is —and somewhat because of its size–shrimp leads a rich, complicated marine life for up to seven years before it gets to the dinner table.
Its name, originating around the 14th Century as shrimpe in England and schrempen in Germany, means to contract or wrinkle. In Old Norse shrimp were skorpna, meaning to shrivel up. But according to linguists and other experts, the mystery remains as to how the word shrimp came to be associated with anything small. Sometimes larger shrimp are known as prawns, particularly in Great Britain, though most would agree a shrimp by any other name is still a sweet gastronomic gift from the sea.
Stalk-eyed with delicate antennae and possessing powerful “swimmerets” to navigate on the underside of their strong abdomens, thousands of known species of shrimp populate the world’s coasts, estuaries, rivers, and lakes, heralded for their ability to adapt to varied environments. Shrimp are known to evade predators by flipping themselves into sediment, the art of camouflage surely not lost on the resourceful shrimp. But concealed or not, commercial shrimping is a $50 billion a year industry and lucrative shrimp farms have multiplied in much of the world since the 1980s, primarily in China.
However it gets to your plate, there’s no denying the protean shrimp makes a picnic at the beach or a night with your significant other special, no matter how you like to prepare it. Try these recipes for a variety of sublime shrimp!
Shrimp Deviled Eggs
1/3 cup medium-sized shrimp, peeled, deveined, and cooked
6 large eggs, hard-boiled and peeled
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 tablespoons sour cream
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Additional shrimp, optional
Chopped green onions
Finely chop shrimp and set aside. Halve eggs lengthwise. Remove yolks and place in a small bowl. Mash yolks with a fork and stir in chopped shrimp, green onion, mayonnaise, sour cream, mustard, and lemon juice. Add salt and pepper to taste. Fill egg whites evenly with yolk mixture. Garnish with additional shrimp and green onion, if desired. Store covered in refrigerator.