Last weekend it felt like summer. 80 degrees, not too humid (so, more of an ideal summer than a real one), sunny. I spent Saturday afternoon setting up my tomato and pea plants outside, in a sheltered spot with plenty of sun. Josh and I took our time at the farmers’ market, grilled some corn quesadillas, had a long, lazy lunch at our favorite bakery on Sunday. I almost believed that school was actually over, that we had nothing more pressing than figuring out what to eat for dinner.
“lying so thicke with their heads above the water, as for the want of nets we attempted to catch them with our frying pans.”
The frying pan bit is, well, ridiculous, but it says a lot about the availability of fish that they even tried to catch them that way. It’s no wonder that colonists touted Virginia as a veritable Eden of abundance. And in his list of fish the colonists recognized, Smith lists “shrimps” along with sturgeon and oysters. So the colonists were eating shrimp right from the beginning.
Now, of course, shrimp are much more dear–I shudder to recall how much these cost. It’s sobering to think about how much fishing has changed since the 17th century. But these were worth it. For just a few hours, it really felt like summer.
1 1/3 cup white wine, divided
1 tbsp butter
1 tsp nutmeg
4 egg yolks
lemon slices for garnish
Rinse the shrimp and place in a large pot, along with 1 cup white wine, the butter, and nutmeg. Cook over medium-high heat until liquid boils and the shrimp is starting to turn pink (the butter should be melted–this is the colonial way to tell if the timing’s right). Now beat the egg yolks together with the last 1/3 cup white wine, and pour into the pot. Give the liquid a good stir and cook for a few minutes longer, until the shrimp is pink and the liquid has thickened slightly. Ladle the soup and shrimp into bowls, and garnish with slices of lemon.