Primitive people put shrimp on a stick and sizzled it over a campfire for a swift and scrumptious meal. Now this simple ingredient is considered gourmet. The chef in you craves shrimp for all of its succulent goodness, while the camper in you wants to rough it with easy meals.
Fortunately, you don't have to choose one or the other.
Shrimp is available in many forms from fresh and whole to cleaned and frozen or canned, all of which make it easy to whip up dozens of shrimp recipes over your campfire. Use these tips and recipes to create a shrimp dish worth bragging about.
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Tips for Cooking Shrimp
- Shrimp is good for three or four days if kept below 40 degrees—cook it your first or second night at the campsite to avoid spoiling.
- Wrap the bag of frozen shrimp in newspaper and put the bundle in another zipped plastic bag to eliminate smells. Keep frozen until you pack the ice chest for camping. When it thaws by the second day, the newspaper will have absorbed the moisture and odors.
- Fresh shrimp is sold per pound. Large shrimp gives you fewer pieces per pound and cost more but are easier to handle when making kebabs or frying in batter. Smaller sizes cook quickly and they don't have to be cut up before using in paella and casseroles.
- Canned shrimp are tender and come apart when handled, which makes them good for chowder and shrimp spreads.
- Use a fork to mash drained, canned shrimp with butter. Shrimp butter is a tasty spread for crackers and it turns grilled steak into a surf-and-turf feast.
- Flavor shrimp with wood: Cook it on a cedar plank or thread kebabs on rosemary skewers. Try various wood chips in the fire.
- Make a more substantial meal by adding fresh or frozen shrimp to canned shrimp bisque or clam chowder.
- Drain canned shrimp and mash it with bread crumbs and egg to make patties. Fry in hot butter or vegetable oil over the fire.
- Make surf-and-turf kebabs with large shrimp and small squares of filet steak. Sprinkle with lemon pepper and grill. By the time the large shrimp is firm, the filet should be medium rare.
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Cajun Shrimp Kettle
This one-dish shrimp recipe is made over the fire in a Dutch oven or in 3-quart pot on the camp stove, making it ideal for large family meals.
1/2 stick butter
Large onion, diced
1 pint sliced mushrooms
Medium green sweet pepper, seeded and diced
2 cups long-grain rice
1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning
1 can condensed cream of mushroom soup
1 can diced tomatoes with green chilies
4 cups water
1-1/2 to 2 pounds pan-ready medium shrimp, thawed and drained
Serves 4 to 6
Melt butter and stir-fry the onion, gradually stirring in mushrooms, green pepper and rice until they're well coated. Stir in Cajun seasoning, soup, tomatoes and water. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer over low heat until rice is tender. Stir in shrimp, cover, and cook a few minutes more over low heat or just until shrimp turns firm and pink. Serve hot and pass the Tabasco.
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