Tuesday, February 9th, 2010 | posted by Monahan's
This year, February marks the peak of Maine’s shrimp fishing for the northern (pink) shrimp, Pandalus borealis. Most of this particular species begin life as males but undergo a “leisurely sex reversal” part way through their adult lives to become spawning females. At this time they are drawn south to the estuaries along Maine’s coast while its waters remain cold enough for this circumpolar group.
These little pink shrimp surpass their Gulf shrimp cousins by such a margin in flavor and texture that East Coast chefs can’t get enough of them, but Monahan’s can. Our long-time, direct dealings with a small independent shrimp and shellfish company in Maine are our guarantee of an abundant, fresh supply at a fair price.
We have these little beauties fresh from Maine at our Kerrytown market with recipe ideas on using them in stir-fries, salads and soups. They may be confused but they are, without a doubt, the prettiest, tenderest, most delicate, sweet-and-nutty tasting crustaceans ever to sit on our ice. They’re definitely worth the visit.
The yearly arrival of these sugar sweet pink jewels from the Gulf of Maine is momentous to all who’ve ever tasted them. Eaten raw as “sweet shrimp” by the Japanese (AMA EBI) and in demand by all fine East Coast chefs, the competition for supply is fierce. But Monahan’s has them, fresh from Maine and sweet as ever. Come in while the supply lasts.
Eating Like Swedes…
Simply boil the shrimp in their shells (it doesn’t take long – just enough time to turn them from translucent pink to opaque) and immediately ice them and chill thoroughly. Put the shrimp in a big pile on a plate in the middle of the table with some lemon wedges and chopped dill and a large bowl for the shells. Serve each guest a green salad and some dry white wine, aquavit or lager beer and shell them as you go. Then go take a sauna.
VARIATION: Serve peeled, cooked & chilled shrimp in an avocado half with lemon or vinaigrette, and dill, spooning out bites of avocado along with the sweet shrimp.