With 80 degree days in the middle of March this year, my itch for bare feet and beers in the sunshine is strong — and the bizarre flip back to normal chilly, rainy spring days has me looking for summer anywhere I can find it. Wearing flip flops on days when my toes turn blue is not working out so well though.
So I started looking for summer at the market. Reading Terminal Market is my go to for great meats, fish and vegetables — and I get a student discount on Wednesdays to boot. I like to go in the morning, after the 9-5’ers rush in and out for breakfast — it’s quiet, everyone is still happy since their days’ haven’t had much chance to be bad yet, and navigating the stalls is managable. Forget about going at lunch time.
With my craving grumbling, I made my way over to John Yi Fish Market and eyed up their case for some ideas. And there they were…
Glorious piles of shrimp. I was raised on this stuff. Pink foods were my thing for a while — shrimp and salmon were all I wanted. When picking my poison, I asked why some were pink and others blue. The answer: different species–but they all will turn pink when cooked. I’ve worked with both before and find that it’s easier to tell when the tiger shrimp (read: blue shrimp) are cooked because they turn pink…so I ordered a pound and headed home.
With the shrimp split up the back and cleaned, and Corona in hand — because I deserve a beer after that process — I readied my double boiler and jumped up on the counter in search of some Old Bay. I spotted red lid, caked with remains of crab boils past and muscle memory took over; the salty, peppery chili spice watered on my tongue.
I grabbed the can and jumped down, excited that in a few minutes I would be feasting…but something was off — the can was too light.
The Old Bay was gone. Why else would it be in the back of the cabinet? This is what living with your little brother is like.
I had to try something else. So I dumped the remains of my beer into the bottom pot of the steamer in place of the water, squeezed the juice of half a lime and crossed my fingers.
Like shrimp, Corona and lime make me think of summer time.This might just work, I thought to my self as I placed the top pot with the shrimp over the beer and set my timer for 8 minutes.
And work it did. The green, citrus cut the fishiness and gave most of the flavor (kind of like it does with the beer) but grain and corn flavors from the pale lager just made it to the meat. My intention was to put these shrimp onto a salad, take a new beer out to the back deck and listen to the hum of I-95 — which, if you close your eyes can be confused with the sounds of the ocean — but I never made it. My brother came home and we ate them all out of the pot, right off of the stovetop. Just like we used to in the summer when we were kids.
Miles Away from Ordinary Shrimp
- 1 lb Fresh, Raw Tiger Shrimp, cleaned and de-veined (if possible)
- lime, cut into slices
- 1 bottle Corona
If you are able to get cleaned and de-veined shrimp, do it! Otherwise, cut the shrimp along the back with a paring knife or pair of kitchen scissors and clean the black vein out. In the top/steamer pot of a double boiler, rinse all of the shrimp well. In the bottom/sauce pot, pour the beer and juice of 1/2 of a lime. Stack pots, cover and cook on med-high heat for 8 minutes. Shrimp will be completely pink when they are finished. Remove from heat and serve, squeezing extra lime to taste.