Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Shrimp From Today's Catch In Columbia

Shrimp should make for easy cooking, but it's hard to find seafood worth shelling out the money and popping in my mouth.

In theory, shrimp should be a perfect food.  Quick to cook.  Healthy to eat.  Easy to pair with all kinds of cuisines.

In reality, I have been burned by too many shrimp deals where my meal tastes like cardboard.  I tried supermarkets.  I tried frozen from Trader Joe's.  I already carry images of fetid shrimp farms, so I don't want to risk pesticides and a tasteless dinner.

The recent success was Today's Catch in Columbia.  The small fish store in Wilde Lake village center has been my place for scallops -- or for the trimmings that they often sell for $10/pound and that can make great fish stews.  But I risked shrimp two weekends ago, and it paid off.

Today's Catch shrimp were firm and sweet.  I basically simmered a large can of Muir Glen tomatoes with sliced garlic and shallots.  Then I stirred the peeled shrimp in the pan when the timer rang on my pot of linguine.  The pasta gets drained and swirled into the sauce as the shrimp turns pink and opaque.  Served up with slices of Jim Lahey's bread.

That's dinner.  That's easy.

Where else do you get great seafood?  Frank's Seafood in Jessup is my spot for crabs, oysters, fish and more.  They are way bigger than Today's Catch, although both offer people who can answer questions and recommend how to cook their wares.  Laurel Meat Market often has crab meat, shrimp that they say is wild, and scallops that they say haven't been injected.  I like these places, but I remain really suspicious of seafood -- mostly because I don't know how to check anyone's claims.


Penny said...

It's hard not to be suspicious. Even sometimes well-meaning fisheries sell mislabeled fish. I remember a NY Times study where 6 out of 8 vendors (all well-regarded) were selling farmed salmon marked as wild.

Anonymous said...

That's why its great to work with the owners and staff of Today's Catch. They can tell you exactly where the fish is from and exactly how to cook it- if you are trying something new. Ask Bill Miller how to NOT overcook shrimp and he'll take the time to teach you. A great local independent and knowledgable source for fish!

Marcia said...

I think it boils down to this - at some point you have to trust the merchant you're dealing with. I've been going to Frank's for, let's say 20-25 yrs (I don't know exactly. I'm too lazy to see when they opened for business but suffice it to say I've been going a LONG time). Frank's has yet to steer me wrong. When they have a sign up that they're selling wild-caught NC shrimp I believe them. And the shrimp were delicious.

I think a smaller merchant such as Today's Catch or Frank's has more to lose by misleading their customers than a large chain such as a grocery.

So my advice is to find a smaller merchant and start talking. Ask questions. Soon enough you'll develop a trust.

Andrew said...

Damn, I haven't been to Today's Catch in years. I almost ashamed to admit I forget they were still around since I haven't been by that part of the village center since Giant closed.

I really should drop by and grab some fixin's for a meal.

Leah said...

Had this for dinner as few days ago. Very good, quick, easy. Thanks for the idea.