The Yankee Chef: Mexico and Maine

Most of the shrimp that we eyeball in supermarkets is farm-raised "across the pond" or in Latin America. It is then frozen and shipped around the world, being brought back to its thawed stage by the stores that sell it. Wild Maine shrimp (Pandalus borealis), as well as other Maine shellfish, are almost always fresh, but they are small. One pound can number anywhere between about 30-70 shrimp, but they are well worth the purchase. Did you know that they start their life as males but end as females? After roughly the first year of their life near the shore, these male shrimp swim away from the coast to deeper water in search of the opposite sex. After about two years, they begin their sex change.

Spicy Shrimp Tostadas with Roasted Carrot Smash

Yes, there is a Mexico in Maine, but that is where the similarities end I am afraid, until now. There truly isn't anything more inviting than tasting sweet Maine shrimp that is caught off the Maine coastline.

3 tablespoons vegetable oil
8 ounces Maine shrimp
2 tablespoons chili powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 poblano chile, seeded and minced
2 pounds carrots, peeled and halved
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons lime juice
6 (6-inch) tortillas, flour or corn
Sour cream, optional
Grated lime zest for garnish

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place the carrots on a baking sheet and bake for 40-45 minutes, or until tender. When there are about 7-8 minutes remaining, add the tortillas directly on a middle rack and cook until crisp, about 6-7 minutes. The tortillas should be crisp yet a little pliable. When carrots are done, place in a large bowl with the honey and lime juice. Mash well, cover with film wrap and set aside.

In a large skillet, add oil over medium-high heat. Add the poblano pepper and cook 1 minute. Add the shrimp, chili powder, salt and pepper. Saute, stirring constantly until shrimp is cooked through, about 1 minute.

To assemble, microwave the carrot mixture until hot. Place one crisp tortilla onto its own serving plate and mound an equal amount of Carrot Smash on each.

Top with equal amount of spicy shrimp and top each with sour cream and grated lime zest.


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