Gullah-Geechee Sauteed Shrimp and Okra Recipe

Edisto Shrimp is the Best

The waters off Edisto Island are known to have the best shrimp in the world, and nothing is better than eating fresh dishes with these tasty critters included! If you love seafood and haven’t visited Edisto yet, you need to put it on your bucket list. 

What’s so special about Edisto Beach shrimp? They are meatier, juicier, and sweeter compared to other shrimp and have an incredible flavor. Once you taste these amazing shrimps, you will never be able to eat frozen again. 

Gullah Culture’s Impact on Edisto

Edisto Island and the Gullah-Geechee community go hand-in-hand. You can’t think about shrimp dishes without thinking about the Gullahs. Their history is fascinating, and their authentic cooking comes from their heart and traditions. 

The Gullah-Geechee community is known for its traditional dishes that often involve shrimp, okra, vegetables, rice, and fresh seafood. These dishes have rich flavor combinations that date back to the 1700s in the Lowcountry. These extraordinary descendants of West African slaves farmed rice plantations and developed traditional food and customs the Southern region now embraces open arms.

Their enslavement involved working and living on coastal plantations and isolated islands. Deep African roots developed the Gullah culture and are evident today in their food, language, music, arts, and more. 

The Gullah people’s traditional diet includes locally grown and raised food plus items imported from Africa and Europe. Staples of the diet include fruits, vegetables, seafood, livestock, game, peas, yams, okra, peanuts, rice, watermelon, hot peppers, and sesame seeds. 

Foods such as berries, tomatoes, squash, and corn were introduced to the culture by Native Americans. Many Gullah dishes’ goal is to make a small amount of food go a long way to ensure everyone ate well. 

Since cooks on plantations were primarily African women enslaved, most of the food known today as “Southern” is made using African cultural practices. 

When I think of shrimp and okra, my mind goes to an authentic Gullah recipe that makes my taste buds sizzle with delight. 

Here’s the recipe for Sauteed Shrimp and Okra: 

This recipe serves 4 to 6 people. 

Ingredients: 

1 cup of diced tomato

Vegetable oil

Kosher salt (season to your liking)

Black pepper (season to your liking) 

½ cup of onion (diced) 

1 tsp. of ginger (minced)

1 tsp. chile pepper (diced) 

Parsley (minced and used to season to your liking) 

Thyme (minced and used to season to your liking) 

2 to 3 tsp of garlic (minced) 

1 pound of shrimp (peeled) 

1 ½ pound of chopped okra

Directions 

  • Coat the bottom of a 10-inch cast-iron skillet with vegetable oil and place it on a burner at medium heat.
  • Add the chopped okra to the skillet and stir occasionally. (You might need to add a little more oil to the bottom of the pan to prevent the okra from sticking) 
  • Add the shrimp, garlic, chile pepper, ginger, and onion to the skillet. 
  • Add salt, pepper, parsley, and thyme to the skillet creating your desired taste. 
  • Allow the ingredients to cook together for 5 minutes. 
  • Add the cup of diced tomato, including all the juice and seeds, into the skillet. 
  • Allow it to cook for 2 to 3 minutes or until the shrimp is ready. 

Once the shrimp is cooked, it’s time to serve this amazing Gullah dish. You can choose to eat it in a bowl or pour it over rice. I must admit I prefer the rice option because the juice gets absorbed, and it creates a delicious and powerful flavor and texture combination. 

Presenting this meal in colorful, elegant, or sophisticated dishware increases the dining experience. When visiting Edisto, you will notice weaved baskets, textile arts, and other crafts related to the Gullah people. 

You can create an authentic Gullah-style dining experience for a dinner party, holiday, birthday, or a weekly dinner using locally made arts and crafts. 

Since you will be making this delightful dish at home using your local shrimp options, it’s recommended that you visit Edisto Beach sometime soon to indulge in the real deal. 

There are a variety of local restaurants that have unique and tasty Gullah recipes. Shrimp and other seafood options are high in demand due to the exquisite marine life in the area. 

Dining at a local restaurant in Edisto Beach exposes you to culture, good food, and music. Shrimp is a popular item on the menu but don’t forget to try other popular options such as oysters, crab, clams, lobster, crawfish, catfish, shark, snapper, grouper, tuna, and flounder. 

You can also indulge in unique dishes that contain gator tails and frog legs. Most local restaurants create their recipes for casseroles, dips, crab cakes, cocktails, and more. 

Your dining experience at any local restaurants will help you create your at-home menu when trying the tasty shrimp and okra recipe shown above. You can even put your twist on it by adding some of your favorite ingredients. 

One thing is for sure, Edisto Island is a great place to eat Gullah recipes and learn more about the extraordinary history of the culture. 

The authentic ingredients grown locally in Edisto produce incredible flavors you can’t find anywhere else in the world. 

Visitors and locals adore this easy and mouthwatering shrimp and okra recipe in Edisto Beach and the surrounding area. Make sure you add this recipe to your list of favorite quick and easy dinners to make for your family and friends today! 

Hutchinson House: Standing the Test of Time

 

One of the oldest homes still standing on Edisto Island was built by a king, withstood numerous hurricanes, and now faces a promising future. And it’s likely that many people have never even heard of it.

That home is the Hutchinson House, which is now in the care of the Edisto Island Open Land Trust (EIOLT), so that it can continue to stand for years to come.

To understand the significance of the Hutchinson House, it’s important to know the history of this home.

When former slaves gained their freedom after the Civil War, there was a group of individuals known as the black kings of Edisto. With their freedom, these “kings” prospered on the island and even owned their own businesses. It was a time of great success and provided many individuals with the first chance to own homes and businesses that catered to others in their community.  

Henry Hutchinson, the man who built the historic house, was the son of one of these kings.

He built the house in the late 19th century next to the island’s cotton gin and made sure it had views of the fields and marsh for his wife. The Hutchinson House stayed in the family for a century, although much of that time it stood empty due to economic uncertainty and the trials that plagued the south after the Civil War.

Eventually, after generations had gone by, the descendants of Henry Hutchinson put the house and the acreage it sits upon on the market.

Anytime historic comes go up for sale on the island, there is a real risk that some of the history and natural landscape of the area will be lost to developers and commercialization. However, there is a diligent group on the island committed to preserving Edisto’s beauty, land, history and way of life.

When it went up for sale by the descendants of Henry Hutchinson, preservationists committed to maintaining the beauty, history and untouched nature of Edisto purchased the historic home.

Now owned by the EIOLT, efforts are in place to restore the home, which is in a severe state of disrepair. In January, students from the American College of the Building Arts will begin evaluating and researching the home.

To support the Hutchinson House and other endeavors by the EIOLT, take part in one of the many fundraising activities throughout the year.

Beautiful image by Ammodramus – Own work, CC0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=23813046

It’s a simple fact that Edisto Beach has the best shrimp in the entire world

It’s a simple fact that Edisto Beach has the best shrimp in the entire world. It’s sweeter, juicier, and meatier than its counterparts anywhere else. That’s why when people come down to Edisto for vacation, they typically spend an inordinate amount of time trying to get their hands and mouths on these delicious little creatures.

That said, if you’re a true shrimp lover, you might want to try your hand at catching your own shrimp this year. You could buy a shrimp net and get some bait and head into the creeks to try your hand at some old school shrimp catching. It’s easy to do when you get the hang of it, but sometimes the shrimp just don’t seem to want to cooperate.

You could also check out Fontaine Charters and head out on the water with one of Edisto’s oldest seafood families. These charters will take you offshore for some juicy, big shrimp. Tackle and bait will be provided by Capt. Jimmy Skinner.

These offshore trips will also give participants a chance to see Edisto from the deep waters, which is truly spectacular. Heading out that deep will also give you a better opportunity to see more marine life including dolphins, sea turtles, jelly fish and maybe even some sharks.

If you’d rather spend more time eating shrimp and less time actually catching them, then visit one of Edisto’s many restaurants or seafood shops to get your fill. Local seafood is one of the best parts of visiting a beach town, and once you’ve tasted what Edisto has to offer, you’re never going to go back to frozen rings of shrimp in the grocery store.

Check out the peel-and-eat shrimp specials at The Waterfront or stop by Flowers Seafood on Highway 174 to cook up some shrimp at your beach house.

While you’re salivating thinking about shrimp, you might also want to spend some time digging in to some of Edisto blue crabs. Like the shrimp, Edisto blue crabs provide some of the best crab meat around. It’s sweet, plump and tastes phenomenal in some drawn butter with a little bit of fresh lemon.

You really can’t go wrong with any of Edisto’s fresh seafood, so take the time this year to try out restaurants and recipes you’ve never had before and experience true delight.