A bit of Mexico meets Maine in spicy shrimp tostadas

By Jim Bailey

Most shrimp we eyeball in supermarkets is farm-raised “across the pond” or in Latin America. Yankee Chef logo 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, is almost always fresh but they are small. One pound can number between 30 to 70 shrimp but 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 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 caught off the Maine coastline.

Maine shrimp tostada with carrot smash.

Maine shrimp tostada with carrot smash.

3 tablespoon 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 to 45 minutes, or until tender. When there is about 7 to 8 minutes remaining, add the tortillas directly on a middle rack and cook until 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 one minute.
To assemble: Microwave or heat the carrot mixture until hot. Place a crisp tortilla on a serving plate and mound an equal amount of carrot smash. Top with an equal amount of spicy shrimp then top with sour cream and grated lime zest.

Yankee Chef book coverSchiffer Books of Pennsylvania has released Jim Bailey’s new book The Yankee Chef: Feel Good Food for Every Kitchen. It contains more than 550 traditional New England comfort-food recipes tweaked for today’s palates with hundreds of kitchen tips and food facts. The hardback book is 312 pages and contains 200 color images. Its ISBN is 978-0-7643-4191-5 and the cost is $34.99. The book can be ordered through Misty Valley Books, 802-875-3400.

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Filed Under: Community and Arts LifeThe Yankee Chef

About the Author: Jim Bailey is a third generation Yankee Chef, New England food historian and newspaper columnist. His first cookbook, simply titled The Yankee Chef, has been published. He welcomes all feedback, questions or comments at theyankeechef@aol.com.

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