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Gulf of Maine Shrimp - 2007/2008


johnnyd
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Last night we crashed a christmas party at Local 188 on Congress Street. Chef/Owner Jay handed me a cup of probably the best Maine shrimp ceviche I've ever had. He said he uses lime juice, a splash of orange juice and rice wine vinegar for the marinade, and adds thai chili peppers, garlic, shallot and something else I don't remember. Jay was a little miffed the corporate types around the bar hadn't touched it. Philistines!

Jay buys peeled shrimp at an embarrassingly low price. Too low to even say here. He doesn't use whole shrimp on any of his tapas or mains, prefering larger shrimp (from "away") instead.

"I took the habit of asking Pierre to bring me whatever looks good today and he would bring out the most wonderful things," - bleudauvergne

foodblogs: Dining Downeast I - Dining Downeast II

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$5.99 at Whole Foods in Cranston RI. Bought a pound and a half for our first, quick-dip boil tonight.

Good deal, CA. I assume those are headless but tail-on? Were they in good condition?

I picked up a pound of headless for $3.99 at our local Hannaford for last night's app. Served piping hot and dipped in garlic & sage butter.

------------

What gets in port tonight is the last fresh shrimp load until Wednesday I suspect:

CASCO BAY-

134 PM EST SAT DEC 15 2007

...GALE WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM SUNDAY MORNING THROUGH MONDAY

AFTERNOON...

TODAY...N WINDS 10 TO 15 KT. SEAS AROUND 2 FT. .TONIGHT...NE WINDS 10 TO 15 KT...INCREASING TO 15 TO 20 KT WITH GUSTS UP TO 25 KT AFTER MIDNIGHT. SEAS 2 TO 4 FT. SNOW LIKELY AFTER MIDNIGHT WITH VSBY 1 TO 3 NM.

.SUN...NE WINDS 20 TO 25 KT...INCREASING TO 25 TO 30 KT IN THE AFTERNOON. GUSTS UP TO 45 KT. SEAS 2 TO 4 FT... BUILDING TO 5 TO 8 FT IN THE AFTERNOON. SNOW. SLEET IN THE AFTERNOON. VSBY 1 TO 3 NM.

.SUN NIGHT...N WINDS 25 TO 30 KT WITH GUSTS UP TO 45 KT...BECOMING W 20 TO 25 KT WITH GUSTS UP TO 30 KT AFTER MIDNIGHT. SEAS 6 TO 9 FT... SUBSIDING TO 4 TO 6 FT AFTER MIDNIGHT. RAIN AND SLEET. VSBY 1 TO 3 NM.

.MON...W WINDS 20 TO 25 KT WITH GUSTS UP TO 35 KT. SEAS 3 TO 5 FT.

Edited by johnnyd (log)

"I took the habit of asking Pierre to bring me whatever looks good today and he would bring out the most wonderful things," - bleudauvergne

foodblogs: Dining Downeast I - Dining Downeast II

Portland Food Map.com

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$5.99 at Whole Foods in Cranston RI. Bought a pound and a half for our first, quick-dip boil tonight.

Good deal, CA. I assume those are headless but tail-on? Were they in good condition?

I picked up a pound of headless for $3.99 at our local Hannaford for last night's app. Served piping hot and dipped in garlic & sage butter.

They're $4.99 at the Whole Foods here in Jersey. Yer gettin' robbed in RI!

(Headless, tails on, in primo condition.)

Thank God for tea! What would the world do without tea? How did it exist? I am glad I was not born before tea!

- Sydney Smith, English clergyman & essayist, 1771-1845

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  • 2 weeks later...

Well, finally. I picked up just under two pounds at Price Chopper in South Burlington. $4.99 a pound (and my PC discount card should have knocked off a buck at the check-out, but didn't), headless, shell-on. I thought they looked good, but we should have eaten them last night according to my nose.

The guy at the fish counter said they started carrying them 10 days ago, and remarked that I was one of a "small but devoted" following in the area. He also offered that steaming them and dumping them on a table covered with newspaper was the way to go. And that beer was the best side dish.

Johnnyd, Ray's Seafood has closed their retail operation on lower North Street, to consolidate their operations in Essex. The Shanty seems to be a restaurant, they don't advertise a market on the outside anyway. I didn't stop in, though, because running errands in the poorly-plowed streets of Burlap was stressing me out.

Margo Thompson

Allentown, PA

You're my little potato, you're my little potato,

You're my little potato, they dug you up!

You come from underground!

-Malcolm Dalglish

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Well, finally. I picked up just under two pounds at Price Chopper in South Burlington. $4.99 a pound (and my PC discount card should have knocked off a buck at the check-out, but didn't), headless, shell-on. I thought they looked good, but we should have eaten them last night according to my nose.

The guy at the fish counter said they started carrying them 10 days ago, and remarked that I was one of a "small but devoted" following in the area. He also offered that steaming them and dumping them on a table covered with newspaper was the way to go. And that beer was the best side dish.

Johnnyd, Ray's Seafood has closed their retail operation on lower North Street, to consolidate their operations in Essex. The Shanty seems to be a restaurant, they don't advertise a market on the outside anyway. I didn't stop in, though, because running errands in the poorly-plowed streets of Burlap was stressing me out.

Thanks Margo. Most grateful for your trooping around B-town in the snow. Shanty shop is underneath the restaurant back by their parking lot. A mere closet of a space and active most in the summer, I imagine they closed a long time ago.

I've only steamed them twice and found a small increase in flavor quality but better firmness. Should do that more often. Did a great shrimp poached in peanut oil, garlic and smoked paprika the other day. Also a shumai that kicked ass.

"I took the habit of asking Pierre to bring me whatever looks good today and he would bring out the most wonderful things," - bleudauvergne

foodblogs: Dining Downeast I - Dining Downeast II

Portland Food Map.com

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  • 3 weeks later...

$3.99 a pound, Price Chopper again, yesterday. A different counter guy, also a fan, but wishes they were bigger.

I sauteed both pounds in olive oil with urfa pepper, salt, and some lemon. My husband agrees, these are our favorite shrimp. Not "pithy" like the frozen ones can be.

But I have leftovers, maybe half a pound in the shells. Ideas? I thought maybe quiche, or a frittata. (I have permission to eat them all by myself for lunch one day, but I think I should share...)

Margo Thompson

Allentown, PA

You're my little potato, you're my little potato,

You're my little potato, they dug you up!

You come from underground!

-Malcolm Dalglish

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But I have leftovers, maybe half a pound in the shells. Ideas? I thought maybe quiche, or a frittata. (I have permission to eat them all by myself for lunch one day, but I think I should share...)

One thing is certain: you have to to do something really soon, like a poach in peanut oil, garlic and paprika. Flash boil in water or broth and shell later to add to a salad. Sometimes I use a little heap of cooked shrimp to fill an avocado half. I have a bowl of cooked shrimp right now that I just snack on - dipping sometimes in a variety of dressings. The quiche sounds good!

pictures...?

$4.49 for headless in Portland's Hannaford today. Curiously, my receipt prints ads on the back and one was a coupon for $1 off 1lb of "fresh cold water, Maine shrimp". Hey! :smile:

Edited by johnnyd (log)

"I took the habit of asking Pierre to bring me whatever looks good today and he would bring out the most wonderful things," - bleudauvergne

foodblogs: Dining Downeast I - Dining Downeast II

Portland Food Map.com

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Thanks, johnnyd, the shrimp are cooked. Good on the quiche, I'm leaning in that direction.

No pix, no camera. I'm what you'd call the opposite of an early adopter. :rolleyes:

Margo Thompson

Allentown, PA

You're my little potato, you're my little potato,

You're my little potato, they dug you up!

You come from underground!

-Malcolm Dalglish

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Spoke to the Whole Foods fishmonger on South St. in Philly today...they should be getting some "on the weekend". (He was mum as to which weekend.) I'm so jealous! Anyone found them this far south? It might even be worth going to Jersey...

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Spoke to the Whole Foods fishmonger on South St. in Philly today...they should be getting some "on the weekend".  (He was mum as to which weekend.)  I'm so jealous!  Anyone found them this far south?  It might even be worth going to Jersey...

michaelg:

Keep needling them. They can get a tote-full for $25. Then, sell them for a buck a pound and win some fans.

Whole Foods Boston has cleaned for 4.99/lb. Had them three ways last night: in a matsutake broth, heated on a hot salt brick, and quick saute with pre-fried garlic.

Delicious :smile:

Edited by johnnyd (log)

"I took the habit of asking Pierre to bring me whatever looks good today and he would bring out the most wonderful things," - bleudauvergne

foodblogs: Dining Downeast I - Dining Downeast II

Portland Food Map.com

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I was thinking of taking a trip out to Cranston yesterday for some Maine shrimp, but decided against it because I didn't need enough stuff to warrant the expense. Look what showed up not 3 miles from my home today, two guys from Friendship, Maine with some shrimp brought in yesterday. gallery_1900_5625_237340.jpggallery_1900_5625_176466.jpg I bought 2 lbs and took them home right away. These are the freshest I have had to date. They smell sweet and fresh as the ocean. I cooked up a few just to be certain and they are wonderful. My little camera isn't much good at close-ups, but here they are.

gallery_1900_5625_93182.jpg

They say they will be back next Sunday and so will I.

Edited by HungryChris (log)
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I was thinking of taking a trip out to Cranston yesterday for some Maine shrimp, but decided against it because I didn't need enough stuff to warrant the expense. Look what showed up not 3 miles from my home today, two guys from Friendship, Maine with some shrimp brought in yesterday.

Dang, Friendship is a long way from most places in Maine, let alone Connecticut. They really drive down there just to hawk the stuff by the roadside? Can I ask where you're located, that they'd pull enough traffic to make the whole endeavor worthwhile?

Sounds like there's more of a story here.

Thank God for tea! What would the world do without tea? How did it exist? I am glad I was not born before tea!

- Sydney Smith, English clergyman & essayist, 1771-1845

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ghost,

I live in a little town called Voluntown which is right near the RI boarder. The road they were on has high traffic for both CT casinos. They were gone by 1 pm which I assume means they were sold out. It seems a bit strange to me too, but i'll not argue and hope they keep coming back. I shelled the 2 lbs during the Pats game half time and had a great meal watching them take their 18th straight win.

HC

Edited by HungryChris (log)
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That is outstanding!

Three Bucks a pound is a great deal too, especially so fresh. I wonder how many of these guys go south to do this, and if they go to the same spots?

"I took the habit of asking Pierre to bring me whatever looks good today and he would bring out the most wonderful things," - bleudauvergne

foodblogs: Dining Downeast I - Dining Downeast II

Portland Food Map.com

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The road they were on has high traffic for both CT casinos.

HC

Maybe that explains it. Still, a fascinating phenomenon. If they tried that in Jersey people would probably just speed by thinking "What the h--- are Maine shrimp & why should I care?" I guess staying in New England gives them a leg up.

My wife's cousin lives in Friendship & runs several hundred lobster traps. Unlike the shrimpers he rarely leaves town.

Edited by ghostrider (log)

Thank God for tea! What would the world do without tea? How did it exist? I am glad I was not born before tea!

- Sydney Smith, English clergyman & essayist, 1771-1845

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Interesting article about Canadian trap-caught shrimp from my friend, Sadie Beaton, Sustainable Seafood Coordinator, Ecology Action Centre, in Halifax, NS:

Shells catching on

Trap-caught shrimp from Chedabucto Bay finding its way to finest eateries.

In the last few years, the price of shrimp has been too low to make the fishery feasible, but this year the Guysborough County Inshore Fishermen’s Association worked with the Ecology Action Centre in Halifax to help find markets for the product.

Dennis Johnston, chef/owner at Fid, one of the city’s finest restaurants, got on board right from the start.

"I was one of the first guys to sign up, as soon at it became available in September or October, just because it is a sustainable fishery," said Johnston, whose menu makes mention of the fact the shrimp is trap-caught. "We were showcasing it on the Beaujolais menu, serving it with a celeriac remoulade. It was a good combination. You can dip them in water or fish stock, or herb-infused water and flash-cook them, cool them on ice and eat them like chips with beer.

Sadie Beaton of the Ecology Action Centre said the reaction among local consumers to trap-caught shrimp was positive right away, and though she described it as an "emerging" product, she said the quality is markedly better than most shrimp.

"Shrimp caught in the trawl can be squished all the way at the back. Sometimes it’s cooked right on deck, so it’s already processed and packaged. Here you have a relatively unprocessed product that’s been handled really gently," she said. "It is unusual, for a lot of people, to have the shells-on, heads-on shrimp. The people that really took to it right away were those that have European ancestry or relatives and remember eating it that way, and the same for Asians. It seems everywhere else in the world, people are used to eating shrimp . . . with shells on.

"We’ve gotten really used to having cooked shrimp in a ring, with the cocktail sauce already there. We’ve lost the connection with peeling it ourselves."

Click Here for full article and pics from The Chronicle Herald of Halifax, Nova Scotia (available for a limited time)

Also, Restaurant Fid - Dresden Row, Halifax, NS

Interesting item also noted was that the bay has been closed to dragging and seining for the last couple of decades so it’s almost like a protected area for shrimp.

Edited by johnnyd (log)

"I took the habit of asking Pierre to bring me whatever looks good today and he would bring out the most wonderful things," - bleudauvergne

foodblogs: Dining Downeast I - Dining Downeast II

Portland Food Map.com

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  • 2 weeks later...

Checked into Harbor Fish Market on my usual Friday morning waterfront prowl and saw whole Maine shrimp, laden with roe, for $0.79/lb.

Excellent excuse to try Peter The Eater's delicious creation:

gallery_42214_4635_9931.jpg

Dark rye, pearl of mayo, steamed(?) shrimp and a roe crown. :cool:

Edited by johnnyd (log)

"I took the habit of asking Pierre to bring me whatever looks good today and he would bring out the most wonderful things," - bleudauvergne

foodblogs: Dining Downeast I - Dining Downeast II

Portland Food Map.com

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Johnny - that is a thing of beauty. Makes me wanna reach into my computer screen and grab it. Where's the drool icon?

Doddie aka Domestic Goddess

"Nobody loves pork more than a Filipino"

eGFoodblog: Adobo and Fried Chicken in Korea

The dark side... my own blog: A Box of Jalapenos

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Johnny - that is a thing of beauty. Makes me wanna reach into my computer screen and grab it. Where's the drool icon?

I totally agree, Doddie. Many thanks to Peter for his photo and inspiration. I'm going to try and replicate it this weekend.

There had to be some landings yesterday - the weather was perfect. Might have been some large hauls which explains the incredibly low price.

The next couple days aren't looking very fishing-friendly:

GULF OF MAINE TO THE HAGUE LINE

930 AM EST FRI FEB 1 2008

GALE WARNING

THIS AFTERNOON

E TO SE WINDS 15 TO 25 KT...INCREASING TO 25

TO 35 KT LATE. SEAS 5 TO 6 FT BUILDING TO 8 TO 11 FT. RAIN AND

SNOW DEVELOPING.

TONIGHT

SE WINDS 25 TO 35 KT SHIFTING TO SW 30 TO 40 KT. SEAS

BUILDING TO 10 TO 13 FT. RAIN CHANGING TO SHOWERS.

SATURDAY

SW WINDS 30 TO 40 KT...BECOMING W AND DIMINISHING TO 15

TO 20 KT BY LATE AFTERNOON. SEAS 9 TO 13 FT EARLY...SUBSIDING TO

6 TO 10 FT LATE. SCATTERED SHOWERS UNTIL MID AFTERNOON.

To add some perspective, each floor of a multi-story household averages 12 feet.

Edited by johnnyd (log)

"I took the habit of asking Pierre to bring me whatever looks good today and he would bring out the most wonderful things," - bleudauvergne

foodblogs: Dining Downeast I - Dining Downeast II

Portland Food Map.com

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There had to be some landings yesterday - the weather was perfect.  Might have been some large hauls which explains the incredibly low price.

Hmm. After an absence of more than a month, they were suddenly back at my local Whole Foods yesterday. Same as always, $4.99. Whatever, I'm just happy to see them again. I'll be shelling & cooking tonight! :biggrin:

Thank God for tea! What would the world do without tea? How did it exist? I am glad I was not born before tea!

- Sydney Smith, English clergyman & essayist, 1771-1845

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  • 3 weeks later...

My shrimp marketing colleague-in-arms reported in the other day on a foray to St. John's for a Atlantic Coldwater Shrimp conference:

Hello John,

Hope all is well. How are the shrimp shaping up down there this season?

The :Atlantic Coldwater Shrimp: Marketing Challenges and Opportunities" conference in St. John's Newfoundland last week was really interesting. I traveled there with a few of the shrimp trappers from Canso. Basically, learned a lot about the perilous state of the industry, what with warm water prawns being the increasing choice all over the world, seemingly, and prices, tariffs, etc, etc, etc. Despite a grand announcement that Moody Marine was going to recommend MSC certification to many of the fleet areas, the industry is mostly aiming, it seems, to dump their supply into discount bins in Russia and China. Sad state of affairs.

Because I was there with a small-volume day-trippin' trap shrimp fishery, I think the market picture for them could conceivably be much different. It seemed clear that the package product of a charming small environmentally friendly fishery with quality product (and possibly a low carbon footprint) could find a real niche, particularly in the UK. We had some very interesting conversations with buyers and suppliers from Norway and the UK, so we'll see what happens with that, hopefully in line with next season.

One thing I thought was interesting though, was that for two days, we talked export export export. Even our nutritional breaks were sponsored by container ships. Meanwhile I became increasingly curious to hear about domestic markets. I mean, people eat shrimp in Canada, right? I was thinking about our efforts here at the Ecology Action Centre to try and capitalize on a growing "local food movement", and the food miles and carbon footprinting awareness that is undoubtedly coming down the pipes, to stimulate a local niche market for these Chedabucto Bay trap-caught shrimp. So I got up and asked the room of 250 odd people, if anyone could comment on this marketing oppportunity, and invoked the examples of the local markets for BC Spot Prawns and Maine Shrimp. And I got a room full of absolute silence..... A telling answer in itself.

During the break, John Sackton of Seafood News told me he thought it was a good question, and that these guys just aren't there yet. Maybe if I ask again in a few years... jeez. Anyway, Mr. Sackton is quite a fan of your Maine shrimp, apparently.

Meanwhile, that article seems to have catapulted the chedabucto bay trap-caught shrimp onto a number of new menu items across the city, some even utiliaing a shells on presenation.... so ..... building, building, and crossing fingers.

Anyway! There is your shrimp update from up east! I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Regards,

Sadie

"I took the habit of asking Pierre to bring me whatever looks good today and he would bring out the most wonderful things," - bleudauvergne

foodblogs: Dining Downeast I - Dining Downeast II

Portland Food Map.com

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  • 1 month later...

The Maine Shrimp season officially ends on April 30th but the boats are telling me the shrimp have migrated out of the Gulf of Maine at this point. Fuel costs being what they are, and dock price for shrimp being what it is, it's not worth the trip out but for a few who established contracts at season's start.

The harvest appears to have increased from last year. As soon as I get those numbers I'll post here - probably the last post for this year's shrimp topic. The good news is frozen Maine Shrimp will be more widely available this summer. Ask for it at your local fish purveyor.

My biggest regret this year was not accepting an offer to head out on a shrimp boat this season. I was excited to get some great pictures but maybe a little frightened about getting my knee caps blown out by a stack of swinging fish totes.

Maybe I'll be in better shape - and a bit ballsier - next year.

:wink:

"I took the habit of asking Pierre to bring me whatever looks good today and he would bring out the most wonderful things," - bleudauvergne

foodblogs: Dining Downeast I - Dining Downeast II

Portland Food Map.com

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  • 1 month later...

It's really gratifying to find this in the New Yorker magazine:

A flabby farmed-salmon dinner—no matter how much you dress it up with teriyaki or ginger—cannot compare with the pleasures of canned sardines spread on hot buttered toast or a delicate white-pollock fillet, spritzed with lemon. Pollock is cheaper than salmon, too. Yet in the United States there is little demand for it, or, indeed, for the small, wild, affordable (and sustainable) Northern shrimp, which taste sweeter than the watery jumbo creatures that the market prefers.

Complete (and fascinating) article HERE.

"I took the habit of asking Pierre to bring me whatever looks good today and he would bring out the most wonderful things," - bleudauvergne

foodblogs: Dining Downeast I - Dining Downeast II

Portland Food Map.com

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