Mississippi: The Song of the South, Catfish, and Teddy Bears?
My Girlfriendships® is staying in the south again this week, visiting another Gulf Coast state: Mississippi (confess, you spelled that out rather than read it, right? I know I did. I think few are the children who did not learn to spell Mississippi the same sing-song way.)
Some Mississippi facts: the Mississippi Delta is where The Blues (also referred to the Delta Blues) were born. With over 100,000 acres of catfish ponds, it’s also known as the “farm-raised catfish capital of the United States”.
Now, about that reference to “teddy bears.” President Theodore Roosevelt was visiting Mississippi on a hunting trip when he came across a trapped bear. He refused to kill it, which led to a political cartoon. When a Brooklyn candy shop owner saw the cartoon, he was inspired to create a stuffed animal that he called “Teddy’s Bear”. And, as they say, the rest is history.
Did you know there are actually four types of Mississippi Gulf shrimp: Brown Shrimp (Penaeus Azetecus), White Shrimp (Penaeus Setiferus), Pink Shrimp (Penaeus Duorarum), and Royal Red Shrimp (Hymenopenaeus Robustus)? Mississippi has a reputation of quality, and the Gulf of Mexico Shrimp grows naturally in the wild without the use of chemicals or antibiotics—top of the scale (I know, when people think “shrimp,” they think Forrest Gump, Lieutenant Dan, and Alabama—nevertheless…). Mississippi shrimp is perfect for my favorite and easy Garlic and Butter Shrimp Scampi.
Ingredients for 4 | Multiply by degree of hunger, divide by number of girlfriends!
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 4-5 large garlic cloves, minced (or 1 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic)
- 1 1/4 pounds large shrimp prawns, shelled with tails on or off
- Salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
- 1/4 cup dry white wine or broth
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes or to taste (optional)
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1/4 cup chopped parsley
Heat olive oil and 2 tablespoons of butter in a large pan or skillet.
Add garlic and sauté until fragrant (about 30 - 60 seconds).
Add the shrimp, season with salt and pepper to taste and sauté for 1-2 minutes on one side (until just beginning to turn pink), then flip.
Pour in wine (or broth), add red pepper flakes (if using).
Bring to a simmer for 1-2 minutes, or until wine reduces by about half and the shrimp is cooked through. Don’t over cook.
Stir in the remaining butter, lemon juice, and parsley. Immediately remove from heat.
Serve and enjoy!
Looking for a dinner place to gather for a night out with girlfriends? Here are two great options when planning your next girlfriend gathering:
- Adventures Pub & Spirits | Adventures are what we are all about here at My Girlfriendships, so when visiting Biloxi, stopping here with my girl crew is a must! In 1993, shortly after the first casino opened on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, the owners opened the Firedog Saloon in Bay St. Louis. Catering to mostly locals and casino industry workers from Casino Magic, the first major casino on the coast, the Firedog Saloon soon became the locals favorite hang out on the coast.
With the addition of several new casinos the gaming industry grew, and they opened a new restaurant/lounge in Biloxi's historic district called Adventures. Located only two blocks from Biloxi's Casino Row, Adventures soon became one of the most popular venues in Biloxi. Sadly, on August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina completely devastated the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Along with the owners’ homes, The Firedog Saloon, Daq Shack and Firedog Bar & Grill were completely destroyed. Adventures received extensive damage but was able to reopen several months later.
In 2013, Adventures moved to its current location, about a block from Casino Row with a larger venue. It remains one of the most popular restaurants on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Once again, since we are visiting a Gulf state, I’m hungry for Fruits de Mer (French for Seafood) and the Yellow Fin Tuna Plate, with a choice of potato or orzo pasta salad, and a choice of salad or broccoli sounds so tempting. By the way, another fun fact is that in 1898, root beer was invented in Biloxi by Edward Adolf Barq, Sr. (yes, that Barqs) while he was working at Biloxi Artesian Bottling Works.
- The Half Shell Oyster House | It’s easy to understand this quote from Jonathan Swift: “He was a bold man that first ate an oyster.” Then again, the bivalve molluscs look like rocks, so I’ve always wondered who first considered even opening one!
This Gulfport gem was created to provide a phenomenal dining experience with a menu that highlighted Southern cuisine. The atmosphere offers a relaxed, yet classic vibe, and the interior subtly showcases exposed brick, wrought iron railings, stained glass, and antique doors. The design is complimented by the sound of jazz that weaves through the air. Sounds very inviting, am I right girls?
So, of course when eating at an Oyster House, I’m indulging in oysters. My choice? The Charbroiled Oysters—Half Shell’s signature oyster, charbroiled over an open flame with their unique white wine, butter, garlic and herb sauce then topped with parmesan cheese.