Alaskan Pink Shrimp. Northern Shrimp. Amaebi (sweet shrimp). Pandalus borealis. Maine Shrimp. Yep, they’re all the same thing, cold water shrimp that are sustainably fished (at least in the Northeast, need to research this elsewhere) during the coldest times of winter. They’re cheaper than regular shrimp, and they’re wild-caught, and don’t live anywhere near that oil spill in the Gulf.
Nearby, a Maine fishmonger sells seafood out of his truck on a weekly basis. I hadn’t had Maine shrimp in a few years, so I stopped and picked up a couple of pounds. He gave me a new recipe, simple but then again this is a delicate crustacean, so keeping it simple serves these morsels well.
Preheat your oven to 500 degrees.
Lay out the shrimp in a roasting pan, don’t stack them.
Add a little sea salt sprinkled over them.
Roast for a minute and a half, no more.
Eat while they are still hot/warm.
I did this the inelegant way this time: I didn’t pre-shell them, which I will do the next time. I used a little salt and a little of that Trader Joe’s 21 Seasoning Salute, and licked my fingers as I sucked them out of their shells. I also found that I needed to put them back in the oven for another oh 20 seconds, but that’s because my oven is arguably older than I am, and I doubt its temperature is that accurate. (It at any rate predates the era when clocks became standard features on ranges.) Anyhow, the fishmonger suggested that the salt helps firm up their texture during roasting.
Often they’re sold with heads on. One of the local sushi places will tempura-batter-fry the head and set it out for you alongside the raw piece of amaebi when you order that item.
Anyhow here’s some info about these northern shrimps:
Shizuoka Gourmet: From the Japanese perspective. (This looks to be an interesting enough blog that it will soon appear in my blogroll.)
NPR : Recipes from the Maine shrimp perspective. I suspect some of these are a little overkill for a seafood item that can stand very well on its own. However next time I will save the shells for a broth/stock base.
Little known factoid: these critters start off as boys then later mature into ladies. (I’m sincerely curious as to how this shows up in their chromosomes.)
Rating: 5 out of 5.