Shrimp is a staple on my dinner table in the spring as the weather heats up and my body craves lean proteins. Wild-caught pink shrimp are local to the Florida Keys and are most abundant during the spring months. In many cases these shrimp are available at the local market just a day after being plucked from the ocean, ensuring the freshest possible product for you and your family.
I have always felt that freshly fished seafood offers an unmatched quality and flavor in comparison to product that has been frozen for weeks or even months before consumption. Pink Shrimp are known for their sweet, tender meat. In having the convenient option to buy local shrimp harvested from the pristine waters of the Florida Keys—South Floridian’s have little excuse to buy frozen.
Here’s a fun fact: nearly 85 percent of the pink shrimp harvested in the United States comes from Florida. Key West Pink Shrimp have a beautiful pink color and they turn opaque after cooking. Key West pinks are easy to distinguish as they have a bright pink color when raw, unlike other shrimp varieties whose colors range from brown, grey, or a dull translucent pink. In my recipe below you will find a classic sautéed shrimp with a kick of garlic and cilantro that amplify the sweet shrimp meat. Trying adding these shrimp to salad, pasta, risotto, or just enjoy them plain—just don’t forget the fresh lemon slices!
Recipe for Sautéed Pink Shrimp with Garlic and Cilantro
1 tbsp. olive oil
2 garlic cloves, finely diced
1-pound Key West pink shrimp, peeled and deveined
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
¼ cup loosely packed cilantro leaves
Lemon wedges for serving
1. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add garlic, and cook until soft but not browned, 1-2 minutes. Add shrimp, red-pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until shrimp are bright pink and opaque, about 3 minutes.
2. Add lemon juice and cilantro leaves. Continue cooking until most of the liquid has evaporated. Remove from heat; season with salt and pepper.
Serve warm with lemon wedges on the side.