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In the deep waters of the nearby Hood Canal, the sweet, succulent spot shrimp or ‘spot prawns’ are harvested recreationally during short periods in the early summer (usually during the month of May), although they are caught by commercial fishing operations during other times of the year.
If you love sushi and / or ceviche, you will want to enjoy these raw or almost-raw (perhaps lightly cured with a lemon juice vinaigrette). Hood Canal spot shrimp are luxuriously silky and sweet, perfection straight from the water, straight-up, no condiments required although they are also incredibly delicious served in many other ways as well (the simpler, the less adulterated, the better to enjoy the natural flavors).
We simply boil them in a light broth made from their own shells (brown the shells in a non-stick pan, with no oil or very little oil), then add some water and bring to a boil, turn down the heat and simmer for 45 minutes to an hour (partially covered). Season to taste with flavors such as salt, pepper, chile pepper, lemon, lemongrass, lemon verbena (sometimes available in the garden at Agate Beach House), cilantro stalks, garlic. Cook the shrimp at the very last minute so that they do not become overcooked. Throw them in for about 60 – 90 seconds and serve while they are still tender and soft.
For those who are sushi aficionados or more adventurous eaters – enjoy the entire shrimp head, deep fried. We like to coat the shrimp heads in cornstarch (very lightly), quickly deep fry them in very hot canola oil, drain, season and consume as soon as they are cool enough to bite. The crunchy, warm shrimp heads are flavorful and addictive!
You can check whether they sell Hood Canal spot shrimp at the Hama Hama Oyster Company (888) 877-5844. Here’s a link to their store – http://www.hamahamastore.com/. They are only 30 – 40 minutes’ drive from Agate Beach House.
Following is a link to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife’s recreational fishing regulations for shrimp and shellfish, categorized by region / body of water – http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/shellfish/shrimp/.