Our family just spent a week at the lovely Carolina Beach located just south of Wilmington, North Carolina. We stayed in a friend’s delightful beach house that was a block to the beach or a block to the neighborhood pool. I enjoy staying in houses when we travel so I can have access to a full kitchen and buy local food to make delicious meals for the family. Since we were at the ocean, there was no shortage of fresh North Carolina seafood. We visited the Seaview Crab company, per the recommendation of our host, and they did not disappoint. Abundant fresh local seafood ranging from crabs to red snapper, and the best customer service ever.
We ended up buying fresh NC shrimp, monkfish, and snapper. After, we visited The Veggie Wagon to buy some summer produce to accompany our seafood. We bought zucchini, summer squash, eggplant, melon, lemons, cheese, pasta, and wine. I wasn’t exactly sure what delectable creation I would come up with for dinner, but I knew we had everything we needed.
I landed on making a white wine, butter, and lemon sauce for the shrimp and monkfish and served over capellini pasta or tender zucchini noodles. Simple, light, and fresh!
Fresh shrimp and monkfish with a white wine, butter, and lemon sauce
- 1 lb fresh shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 1 lb fresh monkfish, cut into 1-inch bite sized pieces (if you don’t have access to monkfish, double the shrimp)
- 1 whole lemon
- 1/2 stick unsalted butter
- 4 TBS extra virgin olive oil
- 1/3 red onion very finely diced/minced or could use 1 whole large shallot
- 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped or minced
- 1/2 bottle dry or semi-sweet white wine, I used a sauvignon blanc, a semi-sweet Resiling would also be great
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 TBS red pepper flake (optional)
- 3-4 medium sized zucchini or summer squash
- 1 package capellini or angel hair pasta (if you don’t want to use the zucchini noodles)
Using a vegetable peeler, peel the zucchini/summer squash while rotating it, until you start to see the seeds. This will make your ‘noodle.’ You should have about 3-4 cups of noodles in the end.
Heat 2 TBS olive oil in a large nonstick skillet. Once the oil is hot, add the garlic. Cook garlic stirring constantly until it just starts to turn golden brown. Add the onion, white wine, and half of the juice from the lemon. Simmer until the liquid reduces by about 1/3. This will take about 8 minutes or so.
While the sauce is reducing, saute the zucchini noodles in a large skillet with about 2 TBS of olive oil. Saute and stir for about 5 minutes until the noodles are tender. You might need to add a little more oil, just don’t let them stick to the pan. Remove from heat.
Next, add the butter to the wine reduction and incorporate using a whisk or wooden spoon. Once the butter has melted add the monkfish and cook for a couple minutes before adding the shrimp as it takes just a little longer to cook. Add the shrimp and cook another 3 to 4 minutes. Once the shrimp turn pink and are curled they are done. Remove from heat, season with a little salt, pepper, and red pepper flake, and squeeze the remaining juice from the lemon.
Serve over zucchini noodles or pasta. Our family enjoyed both!
It’s fun to buy local ingredients and cook like a local. It’s more affordable, you have control over what ingredients you are using, the quality of the products, and it’s a fun family project.
In addition to cooking 90% of our food while we were there, we did a bunch of fun activities. However, the one that I will always remember is when Ayla and I woke up at 5:30 in the morning and walked to the beach to see the sunrise. We had about 30 minutes on the beach before the sun rose and gathered shells, talked, and enjoyed the cool quiet breeze. If you haven’t stayed up too late enjoying island themed cocktails, I highly recommend this!
Surf, sand, sunshine, friends, family, and good food created a perfect recipe for a wonderful family vacation!