Exotic Seafood Survey #17: River Shrimp

The rarest of all edible shrimp in Louisiana waters are the unique little blue shrimp that appear in the major rivers–the Mississippi and the Atchafalaya, at about the spot where the wedge of salt water from the Gulf makes its farthest upstream appearance. Unlike most of the shrimp we eat, river shrimp live fresh water streams.

They’re just big enough to make them worth catching for food. Among people who know what they are, river shrimp are prized. They’re medium-small, about 50 to the pound. Their flavor is subtle and almost sweet, such that they’re best cooked without the usual crab boil. Just some lemon slices and salt will do it. River shrimp are highly seasonal, usually showing up in enormous numbers for a few weeks in the early spring. They are mostly eaten by the people who catch them, and rarely make it to market. In the old days, they were often disdained. Now they’re considered a delicacy.

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