Mount Pleasant's heart is in Shem Creek, home of the picturesque shrimp boats whose bounty is what kept the town in business for generations. Although the industry is no longer the lifeblood that it once was, those boats are still a treasure to me. I guess calling shrimp "gray gold" wouldn't be too appealing as a marketing campaign, but that's what they truly are. We eat a lot of shrimp here, and it's either from a local seafood store or what we pull in from our own cast nets. I wouldn't have it any other way.
Ever since I could swim, shrimp have been those pesky little leggy, shelled creatures whose pointy 'nose' would prick you as they flick frantically by in the creeks...in masses. They land on your plate more than weekly as anything from breakfast grits to creole to shish kabobs to dinner grits. Shrimp are barter, collateral and thank you gifts. I've come to love the little prickly flicks in the creek because that's a sign of a good shrimp season to come!
Commercial shrimping season is in full swing right now -- why not buy fresh and buy local? I walked over to Mount Pleasant Seafood this week and got a pound of mediums - the perfect amount to make this stir fry and still have enough leftover for a quick Friday night appetizer of peel-and-eats.
Shrimp and Broccoli Stir Fry
- 1/2 Cup Black Rice*
- 1 1/2 Cups Broccoli florets
- 1 Cup dry, shredded Broccoli Slaw
- 1 Tbsp Fish Sauce (nam pla)
- 1 Tbsp Rice Wine Vinegar
- 2 Tbsps Soy Sauce
- 22 Shrimp, peeled and deveined
- Crushed Red Pepper, Salt and Black Pepper, Lemon to taste
- Green Onion, sliced as garnish (optional)
Cook the black rice according to package directions. Most black rice takes about 50 minutes, so you can use this time to prep the rest of the meal. Sprinkle shrimp with salt and black pepper. About 15 minutes before the rice will be done, place broccoli and broccoli slaw in a pan heated to medium. Mix in the next three ingredients, cover and cook about 5 minutes, or until they are close to being done without wilting. Add shrimp and crushed red pepper to the pan and continue cooking. When they are opaque, remove from heat. Plate your rice and serve stir fry on top with a squeeze of lemon and sliced green onions.
Note: It's easy to be wary of trying things like fish sauce (nam pla) if you have never used it. This is a pretty versatile ingredient, although I typically keep it on hand for stir fries. You can find it in the foreign foods aisle at any grocery store. It adds a deep flavor (or umami, if you're into fancy food words). It does have a pungent smell initially, but that transforms into an amazing taste when it's cooked into the rest of the dish.
*Jasmine rice would also be good for this recipe. But black rice is so deliciously perfect and actually healthy...not to mention it just looks wonderful on a plate...that I prefer it.