North Carolina Sea Grant
Coastwatch Currents

Coastwatch Currents

March 16, 2015 | E-Ching Lee

By E-CHING LEE

Posted March 16, 2015

Warning: This post may make you hungry.

Plated shrimp through a camera lens.

A lot more goes into the Mariner’s Menu photo shoot than meets the eye — or the nose.

In mid February, I stopped by North Carolina Sea Grant’s Morehead City office on my way to SciREN. While working in a borrowed office, the smell of frying pulled me into the Seafood Lab.

I found Vanda Lewis, Mariner’s Menu blogger and photographer, hard at work cooking French-fried shrimp for this blog post. She does this all the time and has the process down.

First she has to actually cook the recipe she wants to photograph. Here, she is using shrimp she and her husband froze last summer.

Peeled shrimp. Photo by Vanda Lewis.

Vanda dips the peeled shrimp in the egg batter.

Shrimp is breaded.

Then she breads them in a flour and seasoning mixture.

Shrimp fried in a pan. Photo by E-Ching Lee.

As each shrimp is breaded, Vanda drops it into hot oil.

Fried shrimp drying on paper towel.

When they’re golden brown, she drains them on paper towels.

This is what the whole operation looks like.

Shrimp are breaded, fried and laid out to dry.

Shrimp in various stages in cooking.

Then she arranges the food for the photo — even from behind the camera — to get that perfect image with optimal lighting.

Woman arranging fried shrimp on plate.

Vanda places the shrimp around the bowl of cocktail sauce.

Shrimp is rearranged on plate.

The plating continues between shots.

She takes a series of photos and picks the best for the Mariner’s Menu blog post.

The final results — and the recipe — are here.

For more ideas on how to prepare local North Carolina seafood, check out Mariner’s Menu, featuring many recipes from Joyce Taylor’s resource book Mariner’s Menu: 30 Years of Fresh Seafood Ideas.

And the hardest part of all? Getting rid of the evidence. You can’t waste that fried shrimp.

Shrimp season, come soon!

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