go60.com - August 2012 - Flavors of St. Simons Island
Flavors of St. Simons Island, Georgia by Ann Hattes
During World War II the property served as a training and coast-watching facility for the Navy after German U-boats were sighted off the Georgia coast during the winter of 1942.
St. Simons Island, one of Georgia’s Golden Isles, welcomes visitors with live oak canopies draped with Spanish moss, a rich heritage, beaches, golf courses and gracious Southern hospitality. Here you can do a lot, or choose to do nothing at all but let the ocean waves relax you, lulling you to sleep. Be forewarned. You may well become addicted and return to live here after a visit as many have done.
With magnificent ocean views, the historic Mediterranean-style King and Prince Beach & Golf Club Resort has been welcoming guests for over 75 years. During World War II the property served as a training and coast-watching facility for the Navy after German U-boats were sighted off the Georgia coast during the winter of 1942. Today’s accommodations offer pampered seaside vacationing for all ages in modern guest rooms, cabanas, beach villas and luxurious houses. The new three-pool complex positioned on the Atlantic Ocean tempts swimmers, readers and water spectators from toddlers to the young at heart of all ages.
After a day of water sports, cycling the island’s bike paths, touring the Maritime Museum and Lighthouse, or a challenging round of golf, delight in Southern coastal cuisine at one of the King and Prince Resort’s oceanfront settings. Here Southern culinary traditions come to life under Executive Chef Jeff Kaplan and Food & Beverage Director Vinny D’Agostino, with dishes and drinks that include Georgia products from shrimp, peaches and Vidalia onions to pecans, honey, and Muscadine wines. Kaplan embraces the Farm to Table Movement cooking “fresh” and “seasonal.” He likes to follow his food “from the kitchen to the guest.” “Food is very powerful and is at the forefront of life’s important events” he says, “thus flavors and scents are intertwined with generations of memories.”
Large, sweet, buttery tasting Georgia shrimp gain their unique flavor from the nutrient-rich marshlands and estuaries along the state’s 100 miles of coastline, the richest ecosystem east of the Mississippi. On the restaurant menus at the King and Prince Resort you’ll have a wide choice of wild Georgia shrimp – from salad, shrimp and crab bisque, shrimp grilled or blackened, or dusted with cornmeal and deep fried, to seafood quiche with shrimp, bay scallops and snow crab; shrimp and crab lasagna; or seafood fettuccine alfredo with shrimp and bay scallops. The traditional seasonal shrimper’s breakfast of shrimp cooked with bacon grease and poured over grits is varied at the King and Prince by a tasso cream sauce. Ham from New Orleans, plus cream and asiago cheese make a rich sauce for the shrimp sautéed with cajun spice. (see accompanying recipe).
With the proliferation of farm raised shrimp around the world, shrimp boats off the Georgia coast have declined from 400 in the 1970s to about 60 now. However visitors to St. Simons Isle can go shrimpin’ by participating in a trawling experience aboard the “Lady Jane” (www.shrimpcruise.com) on the protected inland waters of coastal Georgia.
The captain and crew empty the catch, identifying the many species of underwater life from flounder to baby shark to puffer fish to horseshoe crab. Shrimp are boiled Low Country style and served aboard for the freshest shrimp you’ll ever experience. At Halyard’s (www.halyardsrestaurant.com), one of many outstanding dining options on St. Simons Island, everything is fresh and prepared from scratch. Southern Distinction Magazine awarded it 2012 “Best of the Best” for Best Seafood. There is beef and pork on the menu but guests love the “Catch of the Day,” whether triple tail from the beach, snapper and grouper from the reefs or tuna from the Gulf Stream. You can even learn how to grill, bake, sauté and fry fresh fish and make accompanying sides from Chef Dave Snyder in his one-day cooking classes. For a start, try his recipe for Deviled Crab at home.
The natural beauty, recreational opportunities and fresh flavors of Southern culinary traditions served up on St. Simons Island and the King and Prince Resort at ocean’s edge linger in the memory, enticing visitors to return again and again.
Halyard’s (of St. Simons Island) Deviled Crab
King and Prince Shrimp & Grits in a Tasso Cream Sauce