My mother used to tell me stories of when she was a teenager she and friends would walk down to the shrimp dock and was paid 50 cents a bucket to dehead shrimp. She said it was only a few times that she went because constantly smelling like seafood wasn’t her thing.
Those docks now called the historic seaport marina were once filled with shrimp boats, trap boats, fishing boats and not to forget the turtle kraals. These days the docks are lined with restaurants, hotels, yachts, charter fisherman and booze cruises with the sound of Jimmy Buffet playing in the background but for some reason I am ok with it. The only thing in this world that doesn’t change is change.
My home town went from fishing town where everyone knows everyone to a tourist trap. Even though it made a lot of people angry and most of them left I love it here. I was raised and lived my life where everyone wants to vacation. My cousin Scott Santana once said when he was interviewed to be citizen for the day, “Key West is like vacation when I’m not on probation”.
Every year when the first cold front comes through the Keys, at sunset and the tide coming in there is a certain group of conchs at an undisclosed location (that I refuse to give up) catching bucket loads of shrimp at road side. We catch black mullet, blue crab and shrimp most the time taking the catch home that night to snack on as fresh as fresh can be. I personally have been taking part in this tradition since I was a young boy and continue today. We are usually enjoying a beer or two moving from culvert to culvert catching the right tide and having a blast. It is so much fun! Teaching our kids the way, hopefully, they will still be able to do the same when they are grown up.
Key West pink shrimp and the deep water royal red shrimp local here to the Keys are by far, in my opinion, the best shrimp you can possibly eat - especially if you are getting those shrimp from the J.T. One of the last of many that is still here in the keys making his living as a shrimper. J.T. shrimp are all natural no chemical IQF that lock in that wonderful fresh taste. Most other shrimp are in what they call the dip - a disodium sulfate bleaching component that is used as a preservative. Once tasting Capt. Ricky’s shrimp from the J.T. you will understand the difference.
Shrimp being one of my personal favorite fruits from the sea is enjoyable prepared almost any way. Beer steamed cocktail, peel and eat, fried, grilled, skewered, scampi, with grits or in a salad the Key West pink shrimp is a great gift from God.
Avocado Shrimp Salad with Habanero
Mix all ingredients together and serve with mixed greens, on a croissant, or in a wrap and enjoy!
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