03 August 2009

horsing around with grijze garnalen (gray shrimp)

Scampi-induced guilt aside, we DID manage to eat our fair share of locally-caught shrimp during our week-long stay on the Belgian coast. Small, delicately-flavored (read not too shrimpy) "gray shrimp" are abundant here, and every day we were witness to the many ways they're harvested: by men in chest-high fisherman pants pulling nets behind them, by the tiny shrimp boats trawling back and forth just a few hundred meters from the beach, and, the tourists' favorite spectacle, by "Brabanders"--a stocky Belgian breed of horse--saddled with nets and baskets and weathered fisher faces.

The fishermen and their horses put on a show at extreme low tide
on an almost-daily basis in the summer for tourists. We'd planned on taking the kids down to watch one morning, but could convince none save Kasper (whose favorite napping spot just happened to be hoofing it down to the show) to join us. I, for one, was glad I went, and even more glad I was not trampled by one of the massive beasts while I posed in front of them for that perfect "been there" shot.

Kasper's first shrimping adventure
the shrimp shuffle
duwen (push), draaien (turn), trekken (pull)
Bomma (Grandma), demonstrating her finely-honed peeling skills
a new generation of shrimp peelers
Best enjoyed with a glass of Rodenbach, a slightly sour beer from Roeselare (Johan's mom's hometown, not far from the coast). Also often used in tomaat crevette (mixed with a mayonaisey cocktail sauce, stuffed into a hollowed out tomato, and garnished with parsley).


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