Wild for Shrimp

My favorite dish as a child was shrimp scampi.  Whenever we’d go out to dinner, which wasn’t very often, it was my go-to choice, hands-down.

Back then, of course, I ate it as it came- over linguine with the traditional garlic butter sauce but as I learned about cooking and Paleo it became very easy to prep the very same dish simply by using olive oil in place of butter and any kind of greens in lieu of the pasta.

Shrimp are not only quite delish, they’re also a great source of protein.  In addition, they are an unusually concentrated source of the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory nutrient called astaxanthin, the antioxidant mineral selenium and a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, including about 50% EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and 50% DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), both of which are especially important omega-3s for cardiovascular and nervous system health. 

But if you pop into your local Whole Foods, it’s not, unfortunately as easy as simply ordering some shrimp and heading home to sauté them.

It takes a little reading up close to see that many of the shrimp (as in 90%)  in our markets, yes, even my beloved Whole Foods, are farmed, frozen then shipped to us from India, Thailand and Indonesia!


Don’t worry; there are other options.

The Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch has determined that your best overall  choices for wild-caught, cold-water shrimp are British Columbia spot prawns, California coonstripe shrimp (caught using submerged pots), and Oregon pink shrimp.  For someone in the US, these options are clearly a lot closer to home as well as environmentally more sound.

And in today’s NY Times, there was quite the fitting piece on how much the local (as in American) varieties have to offer.

Yes, it’s more expensive than farmed/imported, but one of the beautiful things about Paleo is the emphasis on variety. In other words, if wild & local shrimp are not something that fits into your budget as something to eat regularly, simply save them for a special occasion, and choose other local, wild proteins as your weekly go-to options.

Click here to check out their version of scampi- and all you need to do is swap out the butter for more olive oil (and cook it at a lower temp to avoid oxidation and subsequent free radical development)