Food & Drink Magazine

Beach Eats: Baked Pensacola Bay Hoppers with Cilantro & Lime

By @Eater30A

Baked Shrimp with Cilantro & Lime #Shrimp

Contributor: Caroline Coker

Since my family and I love fresh shrimp, whether seasonal royal reds, brown, white, or on occasion rock, and I was passing by Maria’s seafood in Pensacola today, like a moth to a flame I was sucked in to purchase some crustaceans.  With it being royal red season- the very deep water, salty shrimp caught miles out in the Gulf that taste like lobster, that was my goal. But, Maria’s was out (insert sad face). What they did have though were some fresh, just caught, right off the boat, Pensacola Bay hoppers! Heads on and 3 1/2 pounds later, they were in our Pensacola kitchen getting peeled and deveined. My mom always has several lemons, limes, cilantro and garlic pods on hand… believe or not, so I thought putting those flavors together and baking them would be far healthier than my stepfather’s favorite New Orleans BBQ Shrimp recipe that is made with loads of butter.

Pensacola Bay Hoppers (Shrimp) with Cilantro & Lime

I was right. The zest of lime, freshness of the juice, hint of cumin, and crunch of plain panko (that was also on hand in our pantry), made for an a quick, yet perfectly delicious and light dinner.

According to, shrimp are the most consumed seafood in the United States, and with all of their amazing health benefits and sustainability, they are now considered a super food. Shrimp are an incredible contribution to a healthy diet, if not allergic like my aunt, and they offer over 47% of our daily nutritional value of protein in one 4 ounce serving! They are low in calories, give us 1/4 of our daily needed Vitamin B12, a nutrient vital to the wellbeing of the body’s nerve and blood cells, and give us 15% of our much needed essential Omega 3 Fatty Acids, which promote cardiovascular and nervous system health. Most recently, shrimp have  gained recognition for their high levels of the cancer preventative carotenoid Astaxanthin that acts as a powerful anti-oxidant, protecting neurons and potentially slowing the effects of age-related cognitive decline. By suppressing the release of inflammatory messaging molecules, Astaxanthin also promotes muscle recovery, strength, and endurance. This boosts your body’s immunity, reducing health risks and helping prevent heart disease. So, eat up!

Baked Shrimp Before The Oven

Baked Pensacola Bay Hopper’s with Cilantro & Lime 


Serves 4

3 to 3.5 pounds head on raw shrimp, peeled and deveined (comes to about 2 pounds)

2-3 tablespoons good olive oil (examples: Georgia Olive Farms, Mac Farms, California Olive Ranch)

4 cloves garlic, smashed and finely chopped

1 lime zest of, and the juice of

1/4 tsp. cumin

1/4 tsp sea salt

1/4 tsp ground pepper

1/2 cup plain panko bread crumbs

1/4 cup loose fresh cilantro, chop (1/2 for dish and top 1/2 before serving)

lime slices for serving



Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

In a greased medium baking (11×7 rectangular or 8×8 square) dish, add shrimp that has been patted dry with paper towels, then add garlic, lime zest, lime juice, cumin, half of the cilantro, salt, pepper, and then toss ingredients coating the mixture.

In a separate small bowl, stir together the olive oil and panko bread crumbs. lightly sprinkle on the mixture coating the top of the shrimp evenly.

Bake on the middle rack for 15 minutes, or until the shrimp are pink and no longer opaque. If using larger Gulf shrimp like a 16/20 count, you may want to bake 18 minutes. Remove  the dish from the oven and garnish with extra lime wedges and other 1/2 of the remaining cilantro.

So, Eat Up!
So, Eat Up!

Contributor: Caroline Coker was born and raised on the Gulf Coast, and has been living in South Walton, Florida since the age of five. She is passionate about health and fitness, and is graduating in Nutrition from The University of Alabama in August 2015. 

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