Carolina Seafood, It’s Spot Season and Always Time for Shrimp
If you haven’t heard of Spot then you probably haven’t hung out on a North Carolina fishing pier, or spent much time with the locals, because Spot are a saltwater favorite in Eastern NC. Spot are generally fairly small and pretty easy to catch, especially if you are just learning to fish!
Spot are probably best classically fried…simply gutted, scaled, battered and pan-fried. Here are a couple of variations;
Classic Carolina Fried Spot
- 6 spot, dressed
- ¾ cup flour
- dash salt and pepper
- vegetable oil
Cover bottom of frying pan ½ inch deep with veggie oil. Heat on medium high until a dash of flour bubbles in the oil. Salt and pepper spot, then roll fish in flour until it is coated. Place spot in hot oil and cook, flipping until both sides are brown.
Pan Fried Spot
- 1 cup cornmeal
- 1 teaspoon salt, plus additional for seasoning the spots
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus additional for seasoning the spots
- 4 whole spot, gutted and scaled
- ½ cup unsalted butter (or lard), for frying
- 1 large lemon, cut into 4 wedges
- Have ready a platter lined with paper towels. In a large shallow dish, mix the cornmeal with the salt and pepper. Season the fish with additional salt and pepper to taste. Dredge the fish in the cornmeal mixture, shaking off any excess coating.
- In a skillet large enough to hold all the fish, heat the butter or lard on medium-high heat until it is very hot. Add the spots and cook about 10 minutes, turning once. Transfer the spot to the dish lined with paper towels. Serve hot with the lemon wedges on the side.
Foil baked Fish
- 2 fish fillets
- 1⁄3 sweet onion (sliced ⅓ to ½-inch thick)
- 1⁄2 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon butter (softened)
- 1 teaspoon lemon pepper (or your favorite fish seasoning)
- 4 lemon slices (optional)
- Place sliced onion rings on aluminum foil, place filets on top, drizzle with oil and butter and sprinkle on seasoning, top with lemon slices (if using).
- Wrap tightly, bake or grill at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes or until fish flakes.
- Serve with fresh lemon if desired.
Always Have Shrimp
There is no question, if you will not eat but one type of seafood, it will always be the shrimp. I like to get mine medium sized, and cleaned as I want to serve them, but my family being from the coast buys them in large quantity and cleans and freezes a “bait” as we say at a time!! There is no sweeter shrimp than those from the North Carolina coast!!
Fried shrimp are always great, but here are a couple of ways to cook your shrimp, that may also please your taste buds!
Marinated Shrimp and Vegetables
(A friend made up this recipe but I have used it many times and there are several variations, also the quantities are a little sketchy)
- 1 red bell Pepper
- 1 orange bell pepper
- 1 yellow bell pepper
- 1 green bell pepper
- 1 pkg. grape tomatoes
- 1 pkg. fresh sliced mushrooms
- 1 onion
- 1-2 lbs. shrimp, cleaned
- Bottle of Italian dressing
- 2-4 cups shredded mozzarella
- Cut the peppers and onions into strips. Cut grape tomatoes in half. Combine them together and cover in Italian dressing. I generally marinate the vegetables a while before I add the shrimp, maybe a few hours. Add the shrimp to the combination a few hours before cooking.
- Pour vegetables and shrimp into a casserole dish. Bake the mixture at about 350 degrees for about 20 minutes, until the shrimp turn pink. Top with desired amount of cheese and broil until melted. If you want you can do this in an aluminum pan and grill, but you will not get the broiled cheese effect. Watch this one disappear!!
Blackened Shrimp Tacos
- 2 tablespoons buttermilk
- 2 tablespoons canola mayonnaise
- ½ teaspoon minced garlic
- ½ teaspoon white vinegar
- 2 ounces queso fresco, crumbled (about ½ cup) (you can vary the type of cheese)
- 2 teaspoons paprika
- 1½ teaspoons ground cumin
- ¾ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon dried thyme
- ¼ teaspoon ground red pepper
- 1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
- Cooking spray
- 8 (6-inch) corn tortillas
- ½ cup diced plum tomato
- 1 ripe avocado, peeled and roughly mashed
- Combine first 5 ingredients in a small bowl; set aside.
- Combine paprika and next 6 ingredients in a large zip-top plastic bag. Add shrimp to bag; seal and shake well to coat. Remove shrimp.
- Heat a grill pan over high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add shrimp; cook 2 minutes per side or until done.
- Working with 1 tortilla at a time, heat tortillas over medium-high heat directly on the eye of a burner for about 15 seconds on each side or until lightly charred. Divide shrimp evenly among tortillas; divide tomato, avocado, and sauce evenly among tacos.
Serves 4. Each serving contains Calories 287, Fat 13.5 g, Protein 17.9 g, Carbohydrate 26.7 g, Fiber 6.4 g, Cholesterol 120 mg, Sodium 372 mg.
Shrimp Salad Rolls
- 1 Tbsp. butter
- 20 large shrimp, peeled and deveined (about 1 pound)
- ¼ cup canola mayonnaise
- 1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons chopped fresh parsley
- 1½ teaspoons chopped fresh tarragon
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- 4 (1½-ounce) hot dog buns
- 8 Boston lettuce leaves
- Preheat broiler to high. Heat butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat; swirl to coat. Add shrimp to pan, sauté 4 minutes or until done. Place shrimp on a large plate; chill in refrigerator for 10 minutes. Coarsely chop shrimp. Combine chopped shrimp, mayonnaise, and next 6 ingredients (through salt) in a large bowl.
- Open buns without completely splitting; arrange, cut sides up, on a baking sheet. Broil 1 minute or until toasted. Place 2 lettuce leaves in each bun; top each serving with ½ cup shrimp mixture.
Serves 4. Each serving contains Calories 370, Fat 17.8 g, Protein 27.4 g, Carbohydrate 23 g, Fiber 1.2 g, Cholesterol 185 mg, Sodium 616 mg.