By Gini Rainey
Well, it sort of feels like summer is over, what with school starting tomorrow here in Tyler, but some of us are still looking forward to a little summer vacation at the beach in a few weeks. Our family has spent a great deal of time – and money – over the past 40 years in Fort Walton Beach Florida on Santa Rosa Island. We like to stay at the El Matador Condominiums, primarilly because they are at the end of the public access to the beach right next to where the 12 mile stretch of U.S. Air Force property begins. Known for its pristine white beaches and sparkling clear blue water, this is our favorite spot over places like Destin and Navarre which are terribly over-populated and crowded for our taste.
When we first started go to the beach, we would consume massive quantities of seafood, but over the years I have succumbed to what I refer to as the 4-S disease, caused by a mixture of sun, surf, sand, and seafood. I think that the first year I realized I had this problem was when we were at The Back Porch in Destin for dinner and our friend, Joe, looked at my chest that was in full-blown hives and said “Doesn’t that hurt?” Well, duh! It was then that I made the connection – I’ve always been a little slow on the uptake!
So, while I now carefully watch my consumption of seafood (moderation in all things is the key) I still get hungry for an occasional dinner of crab legs or shrimp scampi and “The Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. Cookbook” has some great tasting and easy recipes in between its covers.
This book, published in 1994 by Oxmoor House, is filled not only shrimp recipes, but also reflections from Forrest Gump of the movie of the same name. Dedicated to the memory of Benjamin Buford “Bubba” Blue, Forrest’s best friend from his Viet Nam days, Forrest says “Bubba and me were partners for life.” If you’re not familiar with the movie, perhaps you should view it while cooking up a yummy recipe from the book like Millionaire Stuffed Shrimp, Alabama-Style Shrimp Bake, Bubba’s Beer-Broiled Shrimp, Medal of Honor Shrimp Grill, Grilled Orange Shrimp Salad, Spicy Shrimp Dip (football season is coming up!), Bubba Gump’s Shrimp Cocktail, or Greenbow County Okra Gumbo.
My favorite, though, is for the Shrimp Scampi. By the way, did you know that scampi means shrimp and gumbo means okra, so when you say Shrimp Scampi, you really are saying shrimp shrimp and okra gumbo would be – well, you get the direction I’m heading! Less I digress even more, the recipe for scampi calls for 2 pounds jumbo fresh shrimp, peeled and deveined. In a large skillet over medium heat, cook 1 finely chopped onion and 4 minced garlic cloves in 1/2 cup butter, stirring constantly for about 4 minutes. Then add 2 tablespoons lemon juice, ½ teaspoon dried tarragon, 1/2 teaspoon steak sauce, 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce and ¼ teaspoon hot sauce. Bring to a boil; add the shrimp and cook, stirring constantly for 3 to 5 minutes or until the shrimp turn pink. Serve over fettucine (or your choice of pasta) and sprinkle with parmesan cheese and chopped, fresh parsley. With fresh, warm garlic bread on the side and a nice green salad, you can keep summer around just a little bit longer with this yummy taste of the sea.