Our friend Joe brought us over five pounds of Maine shrimp the other day. Bright pink and so fresh, they were almost quivering, it was our first mess of the season. Too young to peel, I stashed them away in our winter second refrigerator, the pantry closet, for a night to age.
Five pounds of whole shrimp yields about 2 ½ – 3 pounds of shrimp meat. I haven’t shucked shrimp for years…not since my restaurant days. Just like riding a bicycle, the technique comes back quickly. In less than an hour, my husband and I had them peeled and ready .
The trick to working with Maine shrimp meat is to not over cook the shrimps. Because they are small, they cook quite quickly. Start with a large pot of boiling water. If you’d like, add some seasonings to the pot, like a bay leaf , pickling spices, or a tablespoon of Shrimp Boil Spice Mix. When the water has reached a rolling boil, drop in your Maine shrimp meat. Cook for just 30 seconds, and drain the shrimp. They should be nice and pick. Cool quickly in either an ice-water bath, or in the refrigerator.
Maine shrimp is a powerhouse of good nutrition. A 3.5 ounce serving is only 80 calories and 18 grams of protein. Shrimp contains fish oils that are beneficial to the heart, such as omega-3 fatty acids, and is also a good source of minerals and vitamins B-12, A and D.
We boiled some up for a quick lunch, and froze one pound to enjoy later. The remaining shrimps was just enough for this tasty Shrimp and Corn Chowder. Not just a culinary treat, purchasing Maine shrimp makes good economic sense, as it puts money back into our local fishing economies.
Maine Shrimp & Corn Chowder
- 1 tablespoon bacon fat or butter
- 1 large onion
- 2 large russet potatoes
- 2 cups shrimp stock, clam juice or water to cover
- 1 cup frozen corn
- 1 pound Maine shrimp meat
- 1 cup heavy cream
- sea salt & pepper to taste
- dash dried basil
- In a heavy soup pot, heat the fat and add the onion. Cook, stirring, until it starts to soften, about 5 minutes. Add the cubed potatoes and the water. Cover and simmer, until the potatoes are just fork-tender. Stir in the frozen corn and the Maine shrimp meat. Cook until just heated through. Add the cream, season to taste with sea salt and fresh pepper. If desired, sprinkle with a dash of basil. Heat gently and serve in heated soup plates.