May 10 is National Shrimp Day, so help us celebrate the most popular all-you-can-eat buffet option and Bubba’s go-to topic of conversation in Forrest Gump.
Even though shrimp is the most commonly eaten seafood option, experts till argue that Americans don’t include enough seafood in their diets. For shame, citizens, for shame.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends two servings – eight ounces – of seafood per week. On top of that, the American Heart Association is a big proponent of the benefits that come with eating seafood, including decreasing the risk of heart disease.
“Stars of the sea, such as shrimp, are loaded with healthy nutrients like lean protein, B vitamins, iron and omega-3s, but not with calories and fat,” said Judy Dashiell of the National Fisheries Institute/The Shrimp Council. “Studies have shown that omega-3s, which your body can not make on its own, help keep brains and hearts healthy throughout a person’s life.”
The Harvard School of Public Health is also a big fan of shrimp, noting that the omega-3s found in seafood lower blood pressure and heart rate, improve blood vessel function and more. Unfortunately, Americans aren’t pulling their considerable weight in this department, as we eat just 15 pounds of fish annually, compared to around 70 pounds of red meat and 70 pounds of poultry.
Personally, here are three of my favorite shrimp dishes:
- Shrimp Cocktail: The Golden Gate was the first to serve this .50 cent shrimp cocktail in 1959. It is now a Las Vegas cliché. Called the “Original Shrimp Cocktail” on the menu, it is a favorite among tourists as well as the locals. The original Shrimp Cocktail consists of a regular-sized sundae glass filled with small salad shrimp and topped with a dollop of cocktail sauce.
- Shrimp DeJonghe: A specialty of Chicago, it is a casserole of whole, peeled shrimp blanketed in soft, garlic, sherry-laced bread crumbs. It is served as an appetizer or a main course. It originated in the late 19th or early 20th century at the DeJonghe’s Hotel and Restaurant.
- Shrimp Scampi: This dish has its own day on April 29 and is cooked in butter, garlic, lemon juice and white wine.