Working in a newsroom and writing about food occasionally means that interesting packages sometimes end up on my desk. For instance, a yellow and blue can of Old Bay seasoning.
Old Bay is celebrating its 70th year since a German immigrant named Gustav Brunn settled in Baltimore and started seasoning local crabs and shrimp with heavy doses of paprika, pepper, and a dozen other “secret” ingredients. Despite Old Bay’s aggressive ad campaign the spice had never really registered with me until 6 ounces of it arrived in the mail.
Why not? I thought. I took it home, steamed some shrimp with the stuff, and when I took a bite I realized, oh! this is the seasoning that makes all fish dishes taste … fishy-familiar. Sure enough, a recent visit to my mom’s house revealed a canister tucked among her spices.
This is a quick and simple meal that will definitely place you at the water’s edge and make you feel quite at home in rain boots, which I have been wearing for the past 10 days. (June Gloom persists in Boston.) I added my shrimp to whole wheat penne pasta, drizzled it with a white cream sauce, and tossed in some steamed asparagus. Or you can add the seasoned shrimp to a favorite salad.
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup white vinegar
2 tablespoons Old Bay seasoning
1 lb. shrimp, rinsed and in shells
Bring water to boil. Add shrimp and cover. Steam until pink, 3 to 5 minutes. Drain, peel shrimp when cooled. Serve with a dipping sauce as an appetizer, on pasta, or in a salad.
Cooking tip of the day: Steaming shrimp in their shells helps to retain the flavor of the seasoning.