A Winter Trek for Local Shrimp

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Word came that Northern shrimp was available, but that this year’s catch was limited due to a considerably shortened season. We immediately reserved a bucket and set off as the light was fading, straight into a coming snowstorm.

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With a winter storm alert posted, we normally wouldn’t be traveling in such bad weather. The thing of it was, being out gave us a different view of the landscape, including this one from the bridge as we headed south.

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The snow began accumulating quickly, a thick layer of it obscuring the road. We questioned the wisdom of venturing out on a night like this, but were too far along to turn back. Cautiously picking our way down the coast, we were relieved to see the lights of Rye Harbor finally appear in the distance.

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By the time we arrived at the dock, the catch was already being unloaded, the storm lending a frenzied air to the activity around us.

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We tried to stay out of the way and avoid falling off the dock while Captain Mike filled our bucket. With shrimp in hand, we headed back into the night, the latest news leaving us wondering if the fishermen will be back again next year.

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The F/V Rimrack has Northern shrimp available at the dock on Mondays and Wednesdays, weather permitting, for as long as the season holds out. Sold by the 5 gallon bucket (about 28 pounds), reservations taken ahead of time.

Recipes from the archives:
~ A trio of Salads: Potato, Shrimp, and Spring Lettuces
~ Northern Shrimp with Bok Choy
~ Farfalle with Northern Shrimp and Pistachio Pesto
~ Northern Shrimp with Tomatoes and Yellow Eye Beans

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24 Responses to A Winter Trek for Local Shrimp

  1. Claire says:

    What an adventure! We had some shrimp last winter, which was amazing. I’m pretty jealous . . . . and am trying to figure out how to store/share 28lbs of shrimp.

    • leduesorelle says:

      Hey Claire! There were some white-knuckled moments getting there and back, for sure. We ended up with 14 pounds of peeled shrimp, less one for dinner ;) The peeling definitely goes faster done with company…

      • Claire says:

        14 pounds would be easier to fit in the freezer. Have you made stock with the shells? We tried last year and weren’t very successful. I hope you post some of the dishes you make with all the shrimp!

        • leduesorelle says:

          That comes to about a pound a month. I got 2 buckets last year, which allowed me to be more profligate ;) I make a plain stock with the shells, usually with just some white wine added: First, rinse the shells; cover with water + a cup of dry white wine. If desired, add some onion, celery, peppercorns and parsley stems for a more richer stock. Bring to a boil, immediately turn down, and simmer gently for 30 to 45 minutes. Strain; may be refrigerated after allowed to cool. Will keep for a day or two, but tastes best the day it’s made. I’ve frozen and canned the stock, but find the flavor gets too strong. Instead, I freeze a couple of bags of shrimp with the shells still on but the heads removed; this gives me enough shells to make a quick stock after the shrimp are unfrozen.
          I’ve added links to previous recipes, and expect there’ll be more to come!

  2. What a fabulous photo essay of a very interesting journey to acquire local food. Thanks for thinking of taking pictures of that snowy night trip, and sharing them. That made my morning.

    • leduesorelle says:

      I like the thought of you out in sunny Southern California reading this — it definitely counted as one of our more extreme foraging trips!

  3. Now that looks like a combination of good eating and a winter adventure.

  4. Carolyn says:

    Wonderful photos. What did you do with 14 pounds of shrimp?

    • leduesorelle says:

      Thanks, Carolyn! A pound got cooked up with bok choy for dinner, and the rest went in the freezer and will be eaten over the next year. The shrimp are still the best when fresh, but freeze well.

  5. Norma Chang says:

    Glad you made it to and back from the dock safely and with your catch of the prized Nothern shrimp. Do you use the shells and heads to make stock?

    • leduesorelle says:

      Hi Norma! We do use the shells and heads to make stock, but not to preserve. We find the flavor gets too strong. As I described for Claire, we freeze some of the shrimp with the shells on (but heads removed) so we’ll have shells to make a quick stock with when they’re defrosted.

  6. Amber says:

    That is awesome! True dedication! How is your chicory doing? Any luck?

    • leduesorelle says:

      Hey Amber! I just checked our chicory so was thinking of you! The puntarelle left outside didn’t survive but the pan di zucchero did. I’ve 4 puntarelle inside in a bucket of water that are doing well, and it looks like some of them are sending up points! I promise to post about these soon…

  7. Eileen Morgenweck-Schwartz says:

    What no recipes? Delicious adventure.

  8. Liz says:

    Oh I do like a tale of battling against adversity particularly for a culinary end. Glad the weather didn’t bring up to grief. Fabulously romantic though – I hope the fishermen survive the cuts to their catch limits.

  9. GrafixMuse says:

    Amazing! I wish I lived closer to the coast and knew of a fishing vessel that sold on the dock. This season is certainly going to be a challenge for local fisherman.

  10. azita says:

    Epic cinematic post!! Exciting to behold and interesting to read!

  11. katrina says:

    Nothing like a white knuckle, teeth-chattering winter adventure! Those shrimp look just beautiful.

  12. Joe Yonan says:

    Now THAT takes me back — all the way to last year!

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