A Feisty celebration of Chedabucto Bay trap shrimp

Guest Contribution from Renée Lavallée

I have always had a love for shrimps; my first taste of a shrimp cocktail at the early age of 4 was enough to send me over the edge for these little guys. Over the years, my love of shrimp has gotten stronger, but considering most of the shrimp we eat are farm raised, processed and shipped here from far away makes me stay clear of them.

Fresh Chedabucto Bay Trap shrimp

Fresh Chedabucto Bay Trap shrimp

It was not until a few years back that I was introduced to the Chedabucto Bay shrimp; perfect, pink and tasty. These wee fellas had the most intense shrimp flavour I had ever encountered and the more I ate, the more addictive they became. How had I not known about these?

Chedabucto Bay shrimp are trap caught locally in Nova Scotia during the winter months. I think the best way to enjoy them is fresh out of the water, dusted in flour and flash fried. What you end up with are crispy, salty morsels of northern shrimps; eaten whole with head and shell!

Not feeling too adventurous? No need to worry, a quick blanch in boiling, salted water and the small shells peel right off and from here the possibilities are endless. Perfect for soups, gumbos, pasta and sandwiches, the Chedabucto Shrimp is versatile.

Chedabucto Bay trap shrimps as part of a Nova Scotia Seafood tasting plate.

Nova Scotia seafood tasting plate

As a chef, it gives me great pleasure to know that not only am I using a locally caught product, but that they are sustainable as well. Banish the winter blahs and procure yourself a few pounds of the Chedabucto Bay shrimp and invite some friends over and share. They will most definitely bring some sunshine into your life during the cold, dark winter days.

THE CHOWDER OF CHOWDERS

Serves 6 adults
  • 8 slices of bacon; roughly chopped
  • 1 onion; chopped
  • 1 leek; chopped
  • 3 ribs of celery; chopped
  • 3 potatoes; washed and chopped (I keep the skin on)
  • 1C (250ml)  corn(fresh or frozen)
  • 3C (750ml) chicken stock
  • 1C (250ml) white wine
  • 2 C (500ml)  2% milk
  • 1 can clams (add the juice too!)*
  • 1lb (450g) haddock (or any fish you like)
  • 2lbs Chedabucto Bay shrimp; peeled
  • 1tbsp (15ml) chopped tarragon
  • salt and pepper

In a large pot, cook off the bacon with a little oil and add the onion, leek, celery and potato. Sweat for 5 minutes. Deglaze with the white wine and cook another 2 minutes. Add the chicken stock and the liquid from the clams and cook for 1/2 hour until the vegetables are soft. Add in the the white fish. Cook for another 10 minutes and then add the remaining ingredients and heat through. Season with salt and pepper and garnish with fresh dill.

Dartmouth chef, mother and crazy cheese lover, Renée Lavallée, shares recipes, tips, book reviews and stories from inside the world of restaurant kitchens and her kitchen at home on her blog called Feisty Chef.

(*Editor’s note- to maximize small-scale sustainable flavour,  use bottom hook and line haddock. Also try substituting canned for about a cup of local hand-dug clam meats.)

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