We are so fortunate in the lowcountry of South Carolina to take for granted fresh seafood. We have friends and relatives from states not near the coast, and we are always a little taken aback when they say they don’t like fish. That’s because they probably have never had fresh fish.
Now that Fall is here, it’s a great opportunity to enjoy some of our local bounty. Local guide Tucker Blythe has been posting some fantastic meals on Instagram under the tag #CreekToTable This inspired me this Labor Day weekend to have a meal made up almost entirely from our creek at Edisto Island. We actually had two CreekToTable meals and they were superb.
Blue crab – They are abundant in the creeks and are most easily caught around low tide. Keeper crabs are 5″ from point to point on the carapace. We drop them in a bucket with ice to cool them down. Some like to cook them whole, but I prefer to clean them first. To clean them, simply open the flap on the underside of the carapace. If you can’t get under the flap, just use one of their legs as a tool to get under it and lift it up. Then just separate the top and bottom halves using a little effort to split it. Then remove the lungs and mouth parts, followed by a strong jet of water to clear out the remnants. You will then be left with just the legs and carapace where most of the meat lies. To cook, boil some water with Old Bay or Zatarain’s crab boil and drop them in for 10-ish minutes. From here we prefer to either pick them as-is, or make them into crab cakes or dip. For the latter, get a few friends and some beer or wine and carefully remove the lump meat in a pile. Then go through the pile a second time to separate the little shell bits that inevitably will be remaining.
Shrimp – There were an unbelievable number of shrimp in the creek, however they were still pretty small. We cast netted many and shook them into a shrimp bucket and then picked out the larger ones. We head them on the spot and drop into a cooler with ice. Where we are, we are at the very end of a creek and it is the nursery for inshore fish. We netted several of this year’s litter of trout and carefully returned them to the water. We also regularly catch very tiny flounder and redfish. It didn’t take long to get about 3/4 lb of creek shrimp. Simply throw them in the crab water for about 1 minute to cook. It’s very easy and common to overcook shrimp. These creek shrimp are best by simply peeling and eating. You will not find sweeter, better tasting shrimp than little creek shrimp!
Fish – We don’t catch many significant predator fish at our dock but every so often we get a nice one. I was pleasantly surprised to catch this very nice flounder which really rounded out the meal! We don’t eat a lot of deep fried food. Instead, we pan fry them by cleaning and cutting into pieces around 2″. We dust them with garlic powder, salt and pepper (both sides) then shake in a bag of panko. We heat a small amount of olive oil with a dollup of butter and fry in the pan this way. It’s very good and healthy this way.
Nothing better than a Creek To Table meal in the Low Country!