Schedule is the crazy variable for moms, right? Between school, sports, and after school activities sometimes it feels like we are running from one event to another, barely stopping along the way. I think there is a whole blogosphere out there dedicated to this topic so that’s all I’ll say, BUT a busy schedule does dictate the way we eat on certain days. Since a semblance of “family dinner” is important to us that means dishes we can have ready to eat when everyone is assembled.
Ina Garten’s Baked Shrimp Scampi is just that dish. Easy to prep in advance from stock ingredients, quick to cook and simple to serve, it fits the bill for busy weeknights and is perfect for company dinner. (It this sounds like advertising copy, well, I have a long history of writing that so … many apologies.) Really, if you are a shrimp fan it’s an easy dish to love.
But, I don’t love the shrimp shells. Have you ever put them in your trash and left it overnight? It probably woke you up! Typically I wrap the shells in the plastic bag they came in, pop them in the freezer, then toss them in the trash on pick-up day.
I’ve often wondered about composting the shells though since fish emulsion is a popular fertilizer and one I’ve used on a regular basis. Shrimp shells are primarily made of chitin and are very nitrogen rich, so it makes sense that shells are a compost enhancer.
The only drawback is, not surprisingly, the fishy odor. My dogs love to try to lick the dirt in the garden when I use it, so imagine what they might do to my compost pile! Even worse, I’m pretty sure shrimp in the center of the pile would be as good as a personalized Evite for all the neighborhood cats.
If you are feeling adventurous, it is possible to compost shrimp shells. Simply dig a hole at least ten inches into the middle of the compost pile, deposit the shells, then cover with well rotted leaves and more compost. This should mask any fishy odors, but if you are hesitant, or you have curious cats (or dogs, or any wildlife around for that matter), here are a few tips that should guarantee odor-free decomposition.
- Boil the shrimp shells for 20-30 minutes.
- Dry out the shrimp shells in a low heat oven (maybe 10-15 minutes at 200 degrees?)
- Grind shells into a powder & sprinkle in compost.
Maybe when I am retired or have plenty of free time in the summer I’ll give this a shot, but until then I’m freezing then trashing my shells. My apologies to the environment. Oh, and here’s my bucket for the day.
What you can see (clockwise top to bottom)
- cores & peels from six organic Pink Lady apples
- espresso grinds (essential afternoon maple latte)
- garlic stem end
- orange segment
- zested lemon halves
What I made with all of that:
- The above referenced Baked Shrimp Scampi, made with just one pound of shrimp and no shallots because I chose to read Jane Austen instead. Still totally delicious.
- Scrambled eggs with mushrooms and sharp cheddar
- A maple “latte” (Use a lot of freshly brewed espresso, hot whole milk, and a generous splash of real maple syrup. It’s better than a certain coffee shop. Trust me.
- Rustic apple tarts made with leftover dough and the last of my marvelous farm organic apples. These that were made so late they i baked turned into breakfast today. Can I just say this is a great way to start your Friday?
Sorry to leave you drooling.