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Fernandina Shrimp Gravy

This is a famous dish in Fernandina, Florida, where shrimp nets that are used around the world are woven.


  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 cup water
  • 2 ounces salt pork, diced
  • 1/2 cup minced onion
  • 1/2 cup diced green bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup diced celery
  • 1 1/2 pounds shrimp, shelled, cleaned and, if large, cut into pieces
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon crushed dried red pepper
  • 2 cups hot cooked rice


  1. In a heavy, medium-size skillet, stir the sugar over moderate heat until it begins to melt. Continue to cook until the syrup turns golden. Add the tablespoon of water, protecting your hands with a pot holder as the hot sugar may spatter. Stir until the sugar is dissolved. Set this caramel aside.
  2. In a large skillet or sauté pan, cook the salt pork until browned, stirring now and then. Remove the pork bits with a slotted spoon, and set aside.
  3. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon of pork drippings. Add the onion, green and red peppers and celery. Sauté until the vegetables are tender. Add the shrimp and cook until they turn bright pink and are opaque, 2 to 3 minutes.
  4. Remove the shrimp and vegetables with a slotted spoon and keep them warm on a plate. Add the remaining 1 cup water and 1 teaspoon of the caramel to the pan drippings. Bring to a boil, stir, and simmer 1 to 2 minutes.
  5. Season with salt, black pepper and crushed red pepper. Return the shrimp and vegetables and the salt pork bits to the gravy and heat a minute or two.
  6. Serve hot over rice.

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