Sunday, June 7, 2009

Pop Rock Shrimp

Lang's Marina Restaurant

307 West St. Marys Street

St. Marys, Georgia

Remember Pop Rocks—the tiny colorful candy nuggets that came in tightly sealed packets? You placed a few kernel-sized pieces on your tongue and they detonated in your mouth with a sizzling sound. I always thought the candy left a tingling sensation on my tongue.

Biting into a fried rock shrimp at Lang’s Seafood Restaurant in St. Marys, Georgia is very similar. The small shrimp are covered in a thin batter and briefly fried. They puff to the size of a cotton ball, but should not to be confused with popcorn shrimp.

The preparation results in a burst of lobster-like flavor. The pieces literally explode in your mouth and then, more or less, dissolve on the tongue. The texture is definitely not chewy; the taste mellows on the palate like fine wine. Dip them in a bit of cocktail sauce to add tang, but don’t overdo. These babies are scrumptious.

Rock shrimp (Sicyonia brevirostris) have a hard, spiny shell more like a lobster rather than typical shrimp. The shell is "hard as a rock," hence the term rock shrimp. I think they are the rock stars of the shellfish world. From now on I’ll follow the seasonal catch like paparazzi.

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