Buy Shrimp for the Whole Year
Yes, it was that time of year again, the time in the fall season when I buy my shrimp from the “shrimp man”. When me and Pops got there no one was around so I started looking in the coolers for our order. I open the lid and find Black Asian Tiger Shrimp as well as a rather large Georgia White Shrimp. Like everyone else I had heard that giant Asian Tiger Shrimp invaded US waters. After the invasion of tiger shrimp comes the question of eating tiger shrimp; are Asian Tiger Shrimp safe to eat? You can click the images for light box view.
I start checking them out while thinking, “can you eat Asian Tiger Shrimp? They are tiger prawns: How do they taste?”. When the shrimp man comes out and we settle our business during which time I inquire as to the giant Tiger Shrimp. As a good man he says I can have them if I want them and I ask how much? He says take them for free! I don’t need to be convinced and they find their way into my cooler right quick. I am already planning my cook before we even leave the driveway.
Giant tiger shrimp are not easy to find but these shrimp where all caught in Georgia waters near St. Catherines Sound During the fall shrimp season. Still most commercial tiger shrimp now available in the United States is farm-raised. Even though in the late 1980s, a viral disease outbreak rocked the commercial tiger shrimp industry.
Look at this Monster Georgia Prawn
When I get home I can’t wait to do a detailed inspection of the prized specimen; a true sea beast. An outstanding example of what is to come for Georgia waters because these Tiger Prawns are here to stay unless some unforeseen event kills them all off. This seems highly unlikely at this point as we know that the Sea is not easily swayed by man. You are looking at the picture thinking it looks big but it could just be an optical conclusion.
Well, this picture verifies what you thought might be possible. Yes my friend that is a solid 11 inches on any day at the beach. These tiger prawns are giant cannibal shrimp that can grow up to 13 INCHES long.
According to those who have sampled them asian tiger prawns taste similar to lobster, being a bit more chewy and firmer than brown or white shrimp. You know I couldn’t wait to pop the heads off these shrimp and get down to business.
It is Time to Settle the Taste Test Question
You can see that the meat of the Asian Black Tiger Shrimp is of a high quality by the nice iridescence also known as a meat rainbow. The White Shrimp example also shows signs of iridescence. Asian Tiger Shrimp usually have bluish-gray or black stripes when raw, but once cooked the Asian Tiger Shrimp shell will turn bright red. If the Asian Tiger Shrimp meat is peeled before cooked it will take on an orange tone much like lobster meat.
The heat is now starting to pick up and the sizzle of shrimp and smell of buttery lemon juice is rising. Prior to cooking your shrimp should always smell of fresh saltwater and like all crustaceans never smell like ammonia.
It is time for the lemon pepper. You will notice the White Shrimp has begun to shrink by a fair amount while the Tiger Shrimp has not; much like Asian shrimp imports are chewing up U.S. native shrimp suppliers.
Tiger shrimp have a coloring similar to that of lobster, and after the first flip the Lobster appearance of the tiger shrimp meat starts to show while the Georgia White Prawn takes on more of a light orange.
Asian Tiger Shrimp meat is often mistaken for lobster not only because of appearance, but because of taste. My conclusion is that both these shrimp are outstanding. I will eat both varieties with equal enthusiasm.
Next Time: Georgia Tiger Shrimp on the BBQ
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