We are very fortunate here on the east coast of North Carolina to have fresh shrimp all summer long. The local shrimp is quite tasty and very sweet. Shrimp can be prepared in a hundred different ways and for any season of the year and for any meal. There are recipes for omelets, stir fries, appetizers, entrees, brunches, lunches, dinners, shrimp boils, salads, and kabobs. You can grill, bake, broil, boil, sauté, fry, stir fry, and even eat them raw with when marinated in lemon and lime juices.

Purchasing shrimp is very easy. Make sure fresh shrimp are plump, firm to the touch, the color is a healthy gray, and they have a sweet fresh smell. I like to purchase shrimp from the local street vendors when shrimp is in season. Check for freshness.

While I was in Belize, outside of Mexico, earlier this year, I saw everyone eating raw shrimp salad and I was rather confused. I always was told not to eat raw shrimp. I spoke to the chef, of this trendy restaurant, about my concerns with eating raw shrimp. He explained about how to make Ceviche with raw fish, and with shrimp, which is a way of cooking fish in the refrigerator with lemon and lime juices and this is what I had seen the patrons eating. Below is my take on that recipe. Enjoy!

Do you have any favorite shrimp recipes you’d like to share with us? Send them to: topsail@jdnews.com.


Shrimp Ceviche

When using lemon and lime juices as a marinade for fish or shrimp the juices cook the fish as the dish sits in the refrigerator. Don’t leave the seafood or fish in the marinade for more than 3-5 hours or the fish may become tough and chewy. Just for safety’s sake I flash boil my shrimp for 1 minute first. Fresh fish doesn’t have the same bacteria that seafood has. A black bean salsa or black bean salad with yellow kernel corn, chopped pimento, and chopped Vidalia onion mixed with Italian salad dressing goes well with this dish.

2 pounds very fresh small to medium sized shrimp, peeled and deveined, or fish fillets, like tuna or mahi-mahi cut into ½ (one half) inch cubes

Sea salt

Freshly ground black pepper

2 cloves of fresh garlic minced

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

4 tablespoons fresh lime juice

2 teaspoons granulated sugar

1 ½ cups chopped seeded tomatoes

¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro

½ cup chopped Vidalia onion or fresh scallions

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 serrano chile, seeded and finely chopped (optional)

1 head of Romaine or Boston lettuce

1 ripe avocado, peeled, pitted and cut into small pieces

Place the shrimp or fish into a large glass bowl and sprinkle with a few pinches of pepper and sea salt. Add lemon and lime juices and sugar gently tossing till coated. Cover bowl and place in the refrigerator stirring occasionally for at least 2-3 hours, but no longer than 5, until shrimp turn white and no longer appears to be raw.

Drain the shrimp and discard the marinade. Put shrimp in a large bowl and add tomatoes, onion, and olive oil. Toss gently to blend. Cover and refrigerate. When ready to serve add chopped cilantro and chopped avocado to Ceviche and toss. Place on beds of lettuce leaves that have been torn into 2-3 inch pieces on individual salad plates. Serve with crisp tortilla chips.



How to boil fresh shrimp

1 pound fresh shrimp, shelled and deveined

1 tablespoon Old Bay seafood seasoning

Boiling water

Shell and devein shrimp. You may leave the shells on if you want to shell the shrimp later after they are boiled. Add seasoning to a large pot of boiling water. Gently add fresh shrimp and stir once. Let water come to a boil again and cook shrimp for about 2-3 minutes until they are pink. Boiling shrimp too long will make them dry and tough. If not using shrimp right away, refrigerate until ready to use.

Make a cocktail sauce of ketchup, horseradish and Worcestershire sauce, stir and serve with cold shrimp.

Helpful Hint: cooked leftover shrimp may be used for stir fries, omelets, salads, etc.


Shrimp boil for a crowd

Serves 10-12 people

(This is a recipe from Steve at Ogden’s South Winds Hair Salon)

3 large sweet onions, cut into quarters

3 pounds small potatoes

2 pounds Polish smoked sausage, cut into 2 inch chunks

12 chicken thighs, boned (optional)

8 ears corn on the cob, cut into quarters

6 pounds of unpeeled shrimp

1 cup sea salt

3 tablespoons seafood seasoning (like Old Bay or Zataran)

In a large steamer pot place 4 quarts of water in the bottom, bring to a boil, and place strainer on top and cover. Add small potatoes, cover, cook for 20 minutes until almost tender. Add quartered onion, smoked sausage, and chicken thighs cooking for another 15 –20 minutes, add corn pieces and cook for 10-12 minutes, add shrimp, stir in to mix and cook for about 3-5 minutes until shrimp turn pink. To stop the cooking pour 1 quart of ice cubes over the food and cover. Serve immediately, drain, and pour onto large platters or butcher paper sheets on a large outdoor table. Let your guests dig in!


Layered shrimp salad

Serves 6-8

5-6 cups sliced Bibb or Boston lettuce, torn into 2-3 inch sized pieces

2 large avocados, peeled and cut into ½ (one half) inch slices

1 large Vidalia onion, cut into thin rings

1 package frozen sweet peas, thawed

1 pound lightly boiled, peeled and deveined medium-sized shrimp

3 Kirby cucumbers thinly sliced, about ¼ (one fourth) inch thick

1 container of grape or cherry tomatoes, cut in half

2 grilled chicken breasts, sliced into thin 1-inch strips (optional)

1 cup Feta cheese, crumbled

1 cup Vidalia salad dressing

Lemon wedges

In a large clear glass bowl or a trifle dish. Place the torn lettuce leaves in the bottom of the bowl and pack down gently. Next layer ½ (one half) of the tomatoes, cucumber slices, next ½ (one half) of the tomatoes, peas, onion rings, chicken (optional), avocados, top with shrimp. Pack down the salad to compress it together. Spread top with salad dressing and refrigerate for 2-3 hours sprinkle with Feta cheese before serving. Serve with lemon wedges as a garnish around the top of the salad.


Coconut Shrimp

This is so tasty and crunchy. Serve with a mixed green lettuce salad.

1 pound fresh, uncooked medium-sized shrimp, shelled and deveined

1 cup unbleached flour

2/3 cup milk

1 cup canola oil

2 cups flaked coconut


Dipping Sauce

½ cup chili sauce

½ cup apricot preserves

½ teaspoon grated fresh ginger

In a large bowl whisk together flour, milk and egg until thoroughly blended. Slowly add shrimp a few at a time to coat shrimp well. In another shallow dish, like a rectangular casserole dish, spread half the coconut flakes.

In a large skillet heat oil over medium heat to 375 degrees. Cook shrimp in batches, half the shrimp at a time. One at a time remove the shrimp from the batter and coat with the coconut and place in the hot oil in a single layer. Add the other half of coconut for the second half of shrimp and coat. Cook 3-4 minutes, turn only once, until coconut is a golden crispy and shrimp are pink. You can cut 1 shrimp to see if it’s done. Place cooked shrimp on a platter lined with paper towels. Serve immediately.

Dipping sauce: In a small bowl blend together apricot preserves, chili sauce and grated ginger.


Hope Cusick has won awards at the North Carolina Strawberry Festival in 2012; The North Carolina Blueberry Festival — winning first place for her Blueberry Cheese Danish Pastry in 2012; placing on her blueberry spinach salad and dressing and winning second place for her Sweet Blueberry Pepper Jelly in 2015; and winning first in 2016 for her spoon blueberry muffins with apricot sauce and second for her blueberry crisp squares — and has won various other contest awards — including three blue ribbons at the 2016 Cape Fear County Fair — for her blueberry cheesecake, muffins, breads, cookies, brownies and jams. She resides in Hampstead.