“Anyway, like I was sayin’, shrimp is the fruit of the sea. You can barbecue it, boil it, broil it, bake it, saute it. Dey’s uh, shrimp-kabobs, shrimp creole, shrimp gumbo. Pan fried, deep fried, stir-fried. There’s pineapple shrimp, lemon shrimp, coconut shrimp, pepper shrimp, shrimp soup, shrimp stew, shrimp salad, shrimp and potatoes, shrimp burger, shrimp sandwich.”
Out of all the characters in Forrest Gump, Pvt. Benjamin Buford ‘Bubba’ Blue may be remembered most for his culinary contribution; in sixty two words, Bubba gave millions of shrimp fanatics the succinct recipe and cooking inspo guide to everything you could do with shrimp. The Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. Chain of restaurants came about as a result of Bubba’s love for shrimp that was extended to other seafood and meats.
Of course, nitpickers will mention shrimp curry, mousse, braised shrimp etc. that Bubba doesn’t touch upon at all. But as Forrest’s “best good friend” says, more or less, “That- that’s about it.”
Here is the first part of recipes inspired by Bubba’s shrimp love. Now you may not always get your hands on shrimp, so there’s prawns you can forever count upon to step in. The difference between shrimps and prawns is not really just size, contrary to popular belief. It’s mostly anatomical, and since they are both incredibly tasty, one can be substituted with the other at all times.
No better time to get the prawn cooking apron cracking than the weekend; order all prawn sizes here
Bubba’s Shrimp Recipe Ideas:
Both Forrest and Bubba were from Alabama, (“not relations”, even if Lt. Dan thought so), so the love of BBQ would be as deep ingrained as the presence of iced teas and mint juleps. And this is not your regular BBQ sauce-smothered grilled meat we’re talking about; this one has plenty of butter, bay leaves, even Worcestershire sauce and that old Southern spice rack staple, Old Bay seasoning. If Old Bay seasoning can’t be found at your local store, it’s pretty easy to put together yourself. This shrimp or prawn dish is best served with a side of crusty bread.
Recipe: BBQ Shrimp
No no, this is not boiled shrimp added to bland pasta or stuffed inside pastry dough. The crawfish boil from Louisiana has a shrimp version, which has the same blend of Cajun spices and seasoning and the deliciousness of jumbo crustaceans. The ingredient list may read a little long, but you’ll easily find the ingredients around in your pantry. A squeeze of lemon makes the dish roar into throbbing life.
Recipe: Shrimp Boil
When a recipe is called ‘Outrageously Good Broiled Shrimp’, you better believe it. Big-sized shrimp (or prawn) are brushed with butter, so the seasoned bread crumbs and chopped parsley will stay put. A daub of more butter and the pan-ful of prawns goes under the broiler, to be broiled until lightly charred. Since these cook really quickly, this dish can be put together at the last minute, when you need a quick appetizer or have unexpected company over. A squeeze of citrus is optional, but really recommended to bring out the garlic and parsley flavours.
Recipe: Outrageously Good Broiled Shrimp
Ok, so this may have all the usual prawn-friendly favourites of garlic, butter and parsley, but never underestimate what white wine and a buttered panko crumb topping can do to good quality prawns. A total time of 20 minutes, including prep and cooking, is what you’ll need to put this together. How much more quickly it disappears is another question entirely. Serve with a salad or stir-fried/roasted veggies, or maybe tomato-rubbed toasts for a satiating meal. A glass of white won’t be out of line either.
Recipe: Garlicky Baked Shrimp
This simple dish of prawns tossed with garlic, herbs and red pepper flakes is great on its own, and even better when served atop a simple spaghetti aglio olio or tagliatelle cooked with tomatoes and garlic. Be careful not to overcook your prawns; there’s nothing worse than biting into a forkful of perfectly seasoned rubber that smells of the sea.
Recipe: Sauted Shrimp
Don’t be too surprised if this one skillet dish becomes a summer favourite the very first time you make it. Easy to put together and quick to cook, it’s what you need to stay out of hot kitchens chilling with cold brews. This calls for both dried oregano and snipped fresh basil, and don’t skip the squeeze of lemon and drizzle of olive oil on top.
Frying and prawns go together, just like Forrest and Jenny, “peas in a pod”. Shrimp popcorn has always held its own, against regular popcorn or even chicken nuggets, for that matter. The panko bread crumbs in this bring on next-level crunch. XXL-sized prawns are the best contenders for deep-frying, opt for smaller-sized ones only if you need to. Crispy prawns don’t need too much by way of dips, but most people like to serve tartar sauce, cocktail sauce, hot sauce, BBQ or even ranch dressing. A light aioli won’t be too outré either; after all, ketchup needs a worthy companion too sometimes.
Recipe: Crunchy Fried Shrimp
Jumbo prawns are stir-fried with garlic and olive oil and set aside. Next, veggies like grape tomatoes, zucchini chunks and corn kernels are tossed in the same pan, with the prawns thrown in the last few seconds of cooking. Everything gets turned in onto a platter, and chiffonaded basil, freshly grated Parmesan and a drizzle of lemon on top gives it its Italian flavours and freshness. Great on its own, you may want to serve it over rice too.
Recipe: Shrimp Stir-Fry
About the Author
An incorrigible gastronome, Rupika V is on a perpetual quest to find the best food around, and will happily travel far to find it.