The shimmering shine of the sun warms our hearts and skin then gives way (in northern Michigan) to cooling, gentle breezes that wrap us in its foggy hug while soothing us like a lullaby at dusk.
Reflecting on this wonderful season, I realized that it likely reminds us all of the many warm and wonderful memories we were so busy making in our childhoods.
Perhaps this is why just about everyone loves summer no matter where they live.
My childhood summer memories are predominantly centered around the lake we grew up next to because there was nary a day you wouldn’t find us there. However, the lake was a privilege, which required passing the Red Cross Swimmer’s Certification program before you were allowed to go there at all.
By the time I was old enough to take the course my sister Nancy was the only sister left not to have fully completed it.
Mom would drop us off at the local community center for our swim lessons, which back then seemed almost daily, then run errands for our aunt while we swam, which is how I got lucky enough to have shrimp first swim across my path.
Mom’s younger sister, Dolores Jean, which we called simply “Aunt Jean,” never learned to drive, so Mom was drafted into being not only her chauffeur, but also her go-fer and in today’s lingo, her GrubHub.
One evening, Mom decided to pick us up before she delivered a takeout order to Aunt Jean because she wanted us to run it up to her door and give herself a break. However, the smell coming from the takeout bag was driving us all nuts, which caused our curiosity to get the best of us.
Mom pulled the car over about a block short of Aunt Jean’s house to peek inside the bag.
Unfurling the paper bag, Mom revealed huge, lightly breaded and weirdly tailed crustaceans that smelled simply divine.
Carefully pulling just one from the white bag that contained it, she issued the instruction, “Take a tiny bite,” as she held it under my nose. Offering the same instruction to Nancy before polishing off what remained of the shrimp herself, I am sure we all let out a sigh in sync as we indulged in this sampling.
In that magical moment, the spectacular sweet and tender flavor of that very first shrimp bonded itself to my brain (and my heart) forever.
It was so intense that to this day, if I close my eyes, I can still imagine myself sitting in Mom’s car that day.
While that summer did eventually end, and both Nancy and I did go on to earn our Red Cross Swimmer’s cards the following spring, my adoration for shrimp has never waned.
Because of that moment, shrimp has been linked inextricably to summer, and I suspect always will be until death do us part!
Loving it as a splurge that I occasionally treat myself to, I was thrilled to read that the American Heart Association (AHA) now lists shrimp as a food that can help lower cholesterol levels (if you do not deep-fry them), and studies report reductions in Alzheimer’s in those who add seafood or fatty fish to their plates at least once a week, which gives us all good reason to add more of these sweet critters to our plate.
Here now are a few ways to indulge in shrimp during this simply superb summer. Enjoy!
Laura Kurella is an award-winning recipe developer, food columnist, and author of the new culinary memoir, “MIDWEST MORSELS,” which celebrates the fabulous history of old-fashioned flavors of the Great Lakes Region. She welcomes your comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sweet Sow-wrapped Shrimp
1 pound raw shrimp with tail (16-20 size), thawed
7 thick pieces of peppered bacon, cut into thirds
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment or foil and set aside.
Wrap each piece of shrimp with 1/3 slice of bacon and secure with a toothpick.
Place on the baking sheet.
In a cup, combine melted butter and brown sugar, blending well, then, using a brush, baste each shrimp liberally with the butter mixture, using about 2/3 of it. Reserve remaining butter mixture.
Bake for 15 minutes then remove shrimp from the oven and turn on the broiler.
Baste each shrimp one more time with the remaining butter mixture, then broil for 1-2 minutes or until bubbly.
Ritzy Shrimp Remoulade
1 tablespoon horseradish
2 tablespoons ketchup
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/2 red bell pepper
2 green onions, chopped
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 shallot, chopped
2 tablespoon fresh parsley
1 tablespoon Tabasco
2 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Salt, to taste
1 pound cooked shrimp
Place all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until smooth. Salt to taste and refrigerate 1 hour before serving with shrimp as a dipper or a pool. Approximate servings per recipe: 6.
Gorgeous Grilled Shrimp
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 clove garlic
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon Italian parsley
1 dash Worcestershire sauce
1 dash hot sauce
1/2 teaspoon unrefined mineral sea salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 pound raw extra-large shrimp, de-veined, shell and tail on
oil, for greasing
Soak 16 8-inch bamboo skewers in warm water for 30 minutes. In a food processor bowl, blend butter until light and fluffy. Add lemon juice and garlic, pulse until garlic is finely minced. Add breadcrumbs, parsley, Worcestershire, hot sauce, salt and pepper then pulse lightly just until blended. Scoop mixture out onto a piece of plastic wrap and roll into a baton about 8 inches long and about 1 inch in diameter. Place in the refrigerator to firm up. Meanwhile, prepare shrimp by cutting through the back of each shrimp to flatten it — butterfly. Insert a bamboo skewer through the tail and up through the center of the shrimp. Preheat the grill or broiler. Place shrimp on lightly greased grill pan. Arrange shrimp cut side down. Grill or broil for 2 minutes. Turn shrimp to meat side up, top each shrimp with a 1/4-inch slice of the flavored butter, using the entire log. Return to grill/broiler and cool for 2 to 3 minutes or until butter melts and breadcrumbs crisp up. Serve immediately.