Small, Pink and Handsome

Eating seasonally in New England is great — until November rolls around. By December, things start to get a little bleak, especially if you aren't a big fan of root veggies.

Then, Maine shrimp appear like a glistening pink mirage on the horizon, all sweetness and light. And like a mirage, they disappear almost as soon as you see them — until this year. The season has been extended through May 29, which is a huge deal compared with the usual six weeks in winter.

That doesn't make them any less precious. For starters, the New York Times, Village Voice, Providence Journal and New York Magazine have all extolled their virtues in recent weeks, which can only mean one thing: loads of the little sweeties will be headed south on fish trucks. But it looks like there are enough to go around this year, and community supported fisheries such as those offered by Port Clyde Fresh Catch and Penobscot East CSF are helping to spread the wealth. You can also find them at local markets and, if you're lucky, your winter farmers market.

But what to do with them? Here at The Maven, we're not huge fans of eating Maine shrimp raw with a dash of salt and a squeeze of lemon like so many people seem to be. But we will agree that the less you do with them, the better. We absolutely adore them flash-fried with garlic and olive oil or cooked,  chilled and served in a shrimp cocktail or Cobb salad.

We want to know: what's your favorite way to serve Maine shrimp?

Still not sure? Try this great recipe from cookbook author, Bon Appetit columnist and regular Down East Brooke Dojny, who lives in Sedgwick. It comes from her cookbook "Dishing Up Maine" (Storey, 2006) and it's a classic:

Maine Shrimp Linguine

8 tablespoons butter
6 tablespoons olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons minced shallots
1 cup bottled clam juice
1 cup dry white wine
2 teaspoons Angostura bitters
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
12 ounces linguine
1 pound shelled Maine shrimp
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
salt and pepper, to taste

1. Heat butter and oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and shallots and cook for 1 minute. Add clam juice, raise heat to high and boil until reduced by one-third, about 5 minutes. Add bitters, lemon zest, lemon juice and red pepper flakes.

2. Cook the pasta until al dente.

3. Reheat the sauce, add the shrimp and cook over medium heat, stirring often, until the shrimp just turn pink, about 2 minutes. Stir in parsley and season to taste.

4. Drain pasta, toss with shrimp and sauce, and serve.

Makes 4 servings.

Image credit: Port Clyde Fresh Catch.


Kate. said...

I made two delicious dishes with Maine shrimp this year so far:
This one is a lot like the one you've already posted, and I love the idea of adding bitters! I'll have to try that one.

And a great, but simple herbed shrimp dip:
Oh yum, now I have to go to Harbor Fish tonight. :)

Kristen said...

YUM!!! Thanks, Kate!

Andrea said...

My Maine-born husband insists that Maine shrimp are the best.

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