Wipe the dust from the hammock, the sprinkler and the Mixmaster blender. Pack away those turtlenecks and break out the flip-flops…’cause it’s summer in Hilton Head Island! With the last ring of the school bell and the ghastly cold of winter only a lingering memory, families in the know head for relaxation and adventure in the Lowcountry. Mixed in with bike rides, beachcombing and maybe some golf or tennis, these same folks know they will be in for some delectable dining while they visit the Island. Just read any of my previous blog posts for examples!
And for those who love to cook for themselves, it can be a superb opportunity to prepare some of the best seafood in the world. And I am not exaggerating when I state: IN THE WORLD. With the summer shrimp season just starting and local game fish like Cobia, Grouper, Mahi Mahi and Swordfish running strong you will not find better quality local fish anywhere. For an authentic experience I can recommend a couple of seafood markets that specialize in purveying local, in-season seafood. Today I am featuring Island landmark Benny Hudson Seafood that is located on the north-end of the Island just off the docks of Skull Creek. With the Hudson family being involved in the seafood business since the 1890’s and now with four generations working together under the same roof, you cannot get much more “authentic”! And after speaking recently with Tonya Hudson, owner, you cannot get much more genuine, enthusiastic or knowledgeable about the local seafood scene.
Tonya knows that some folks, while they adore seafood, may be a little hesitant to prepare it themselves so at Benny Hudson’s they have “Tasteful Tuesdays.” She said, “Knowledge is power and we feel it is essential to educate the public about seafood. There is a difference between wild, local fish and whatever else is sold out there. The difference is taste. Most of what is sold in grocery stores is farmed and imported from overseas.” She added, “At Tasteful Tuesday we provide information as well as a cooking demonstration using a recipe with no more than 5 ingredients. Everyone tastes what we prepare – they see how simple it is to cook and how truly delicious local seafood can be.” Hopefully they take this appreciation for local and in-season products – whether it’s seafood, produce or meats – with them throughout their lifetime.
Tonya tells me her favorite moment at this event is when people first taste the recipe and realize an epiphany, stating something like, “I can taste the difference. Wow. This is incredible!” Tasteful Tuesday is the first Tuesday of every month, costs $3 per person and is very popular so call them at the market – or better yet stop by – and reserve your spot. Right now, as the shrimp comes into season, Tonya tells me they have been selling locally caught, frozen shrimp until the season can start. She tells me that, unlike the frozen, farmed and imported shrimp purchased at the supermarket; they flash freeze their shrimp in plain water with NO sulfites within 2 hours of being caught. So those with sulfite allergies take note – buy local! And while they do not sell live blue crabs they do prepare and sell their own handmade deviled crab, locally caught picked crab plus other local and South Carolina specialty items.
Here’s to a superlative SC shrimp season for the Hudson’s family and all local shrimpers!
From Tonya, let’s fire up the grill with Rosemary Shrimp Skewers!
Rosemary Shrimp Skewers: Benny Hudson Seafood Market
- 1 Tbl fresh lemon juice
- 3 Tbl olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic-finely minced
- ¼ cup dry white wine
- 1 Tsp sea salt
- ½ Tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 2 Tbl fresh rosemary-finely minced
- 18 large shrimp-peeled and deveined
- Lemon wedges (optional)
- 6-6” rosemary sprigs
Sprigs should be stripped, leaving ½ inch of leaves at the leafy end of the sprig. They should be soaked in water-the longer the better. Overnight or a minimum of 3-4 hours.
Combine first 7 ingredients in zip-lock bag. Add shrimp and refrigerate 30 minutes, turning bag occasionally. Thread sprigs with shrimp-3 on each. Make sure not to crowd shrimp for even doneness. Pre-heat grill to med-high heat. Clean and grease grill with olive oil. Place skewers on grill, brush with olive oil. Cook 2-3 minutes per side, or until just cooked through. Plate with lemon wedges as an accompaniment, if desired.