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Yummers
Picture credited to Nayana. This was our delicious dinner at Gaya Island!
Marinated Grilled Shrimp
Adapted from a recipie by blondieperez at allrecipes.com
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup tomato sauce
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 pounds fresh shrimp (any edible species), peeled and deveined
  • skewers
Directions:
1. In a large bowl, stir together the garlic, olive oil, tomato sauce, and red wine vinegar. Season with basil, salt, and cayenne pepper. Add shrimp to the bowl, and stir until evenly coated. Cover, and refrigerate for 30 minutes to 1 hour, stirring once or twice.

2. Preheat grill for medium heat. Thread shrimp onto skewers, piercing once near the tail and once near the head. Discard marinade.

3. Lightly oil grill grate. Cook shrimp on preheated grill for 2 to 3 minutes per side, or until opaque.

...just kidding. I was forced to throw out my dead shrimp when they started stinking up the study center at Lambir, and the few that survived my scrutiny went back into the river. Also, I never actually caught any marine shrimp. But I do like to eat shrimp, and I'd like to try that recipe someday.

"Like I was saying, shrimp is the fruit of the sea....You can barbecue it, boil it, broil it, bake it, sauté it....There's shrimp kabobs, shrimp creole, shrimp gumbo, pan fried, deep fried, stir fried, pineapple shrimp, lemon shrimp, coconut shrimp, pepper shrimp, shrimp soup, shrimp stew, shrimp salad, shrimp and potatoes, shrimp burger and a shrimp sandwich. That--that's about it."           -Bubba from Forrest Gump

Usually when we think of shrimp we think about it in terms of culinary uses. It's interesting to note how shrimp are becoming a staple in Western diets, with increasing shrimp farming and shrimp-harvesting techniques driving the price of shrimp down. According to an article by Slate, shrimp recently managed to surpass canned tuna in the American diet, with each American eating an average of 4.2 pounds of shrimp in 2004. Previously, shrimp had been percieved as a luxury item and had been too expensive for now-everyday fast food items such as Popeye's popcorn shrimp.

The shrimp harvesting techniques, however, cause damage to marine communities due to the trawling techniques used to harvest wild-caught shrimp. Although shrimp populations are quite resiliant to harvesting due to their ability to reproduce relatively quickly, the midwater trawls used to catch shrimp will produce a lot of wasted bycatch, more so than with trawls used to catch fish and larger organisms. Somewhere between three (est. by US National Marine Fisheries Service) to fourteen (est. by World Wide Fund for Nature) or more pounds of bycatch are produced for every pound of shrimp caught, depending on location and nationality of the fishing vessel, as many countries outside the US don't or are unable to enforce the use of turtle excluder devices on shrimping vessels. Farmed shrimp are also quite damaging, as they release pollutants (antibiotics, pesticides, etc.) into the water and often harbor diseases that cause epidemics in both farmed and wild shrimp populations. In some developing nations, the building of shrimp farms is also leading to the clearing of coastal mangroves and wetlands. (Perhaps Forrest Gump should've found a more eco-friendly industry?)

Fortunately the Monteray Bay Aquarium provides handy printable pocket guides on the environmental impact of various kinds of shrimp and other seafood. The guides vary depending on what region of the US you are in (and you're kind of on your own if you're not in the US). In general though, US farmed or wild-caught shrimp is a good alternative to imported farmed or wild-caught shrimp from other countries, though not the best. (Try US Spiny Lobster or farmed clams instead!) Wild-caught pink shrimp from Oregon or wild-caught spot prawns from British Columbia are the best among the shrimp options but apparently they're not avaliable in many places. It's also a bit difficult to ask restaurants like Popeye's whether their shrimp come from Oregon or Washington (big difference!).

I really wish they had these things for other countries...many Asian and European countries could use them, though a lot of Americans should really start using these guides as well.

Last updated August 2008. Contact Justine at jschow88[AT]gmail.com.