A Sweet, Short Shrimp Season

david gardner selling shrimp on the roadside
David Gardner selling shrimp on the roadside.

by Catherine Schmitt

A few weeks ago I promised more information on buying and preparing Maine shrimp. Well, whaddya know the season ended last Friday. So, for those of you lucky enough to have snagged a final pound (or two, or three…), I’ll offer some final words until next year.

I picked up some fresh shrimp from David Gardner, who set up on Route 3 on the south side of Ellsworth with coolers full of shrimp courtesy of Island Shrimp in Southwest Harbor.

Since shelling shrimp demands a kind of rhythm that only improves with time, I shelled the two pounds all at once. (Here’s a video on how to peel shrimp from Portland’s Harbor Fish Market.) Now, here’s the thing with Northern shrimp. They cook fast, and they can release a lot of liquid when they cook, which is fine in a dish like scampi or soup, paella or a baked casserole. But sometimes–with stir fry, say, or salad–adjustments are required. I have found that a quick broil will cook the shrimp to a firm texture. Spread them out on a rimmed baking sheet and broil a few inches from the heat for one to two minutes (watch them). Remove with a slotted spoon and add to prepared dishes at the last minute, or refrigerate for later use. And I guess that’s the last word.