Maine shrimps, because they’re naturally so tender, should marinate only briefly, so don’t try to do this in advance. More than 30 minutes in lime juice and you risk turning them to mush.
Maine Shrimp Ceviche
For 3 to 4 servings you’ll need: about half a pound of fresh, peeled Maine shrimps; the juice of half a lime; a fresh green chili pepper (jalapeño or serrano); a small bunch of cilantro, coarsely chopped; half a small red onion or a whole shallot, very thinly sliced; a finely chopped garlic clove; a small avocado, cubed; half a lemon (I used half a little Meyer lemon); and some extra-virgin olive oil. (If you prefer, use more or less of any of these ingredients, as your own taste dictates.) You’ll also need some salad greens for the presentation—the mixture called variously spring greens or mesclun is colorful.
Drain the shrimps of any excess liquid and put them in a small bowl with the lime juice, tossing the shrimps with a fork to coat them completely with juice. Set aside but for no more than half an hour.
While the shrimps are marinating, combine the rest of the ingredients. The chili pepper should be sliced in very thin rings, first removing the seeds if it seems too hot for your taste. Mix it with the cilantro, onion, garlic, and avocado. Add a couple of tablespoons of lemon juice and a couple of tablespoons of olive oil and toss with a fork to coat everything well. You can make this in advance, but not too far.
When you’re ready to serve, arrange the salad greens on individual plates and dribble a little olive oil over them. Drain the shrimps, discarding the lime juice (there’ll be plenty left to give the ceviche some lime flavor), and toss with the other ingredients. Pile the ceviche on the salad plates and dribble a little olive oil over the top of each.
Angel Hair Pasta with Maine Shrimp
This makes enough for 2 generous portions, with a little left over for a second helping. Or, if you want to serve it Italian style, at the start of the meal before the main course, it should be enough for 4. The technique of finishing the partially cooked pasta in the pan with the sauce is what Italian cooks call “saltare in padella,” to saute in the pan. The pasta should absorb directly some of the flavors of the sauce.
You’ll need about 1/2 pound peeled Maine shrimp; plus a fat leek, sliced thin and rinsed; a garlic clove chopped fine; and a handful of flat-leaf parsley, also chopped but not too fine. For a little less than half a pound (that’s 200 grams) of angel hair pasta, you’ll also need about a third of a cup of dry white wine, and a pinch of ground red chili pepper, plus the usual sea salt, freshly ground black pepper, and extra-virgin olive oil.
Bring 6 quarts of water to a boil in a large pasta pot set over medium-high heat. While the water is coming to a boil, drain the shrimps in a colander and set aside.
For the sauce, you’ll need to use a large saute pan or skillet with high sides in order to accommodate all the cooked pasta toward the end.
Toss the leek slices with 2 tablespoons of oil in a saute pan like the one described and set over medium-low heat. Add the garlic, parsley, and a pinch of salt, and cook gently, stirring frequently, until the vegetables are soft but do not let them brown. Add the wine and continue cooking until the wine has reduced to just a few tablespoons. Now turn off the heat and immediately add the shrimps, stirring to mix them well. The heat in the pan will cook the shrimps until they’re almost ready to eat.
Add a big spoonful of salt to the water in the pasta pot, which should be rapidly boiling by now. As soon as it returns to a boil, stir in the pasta and cook for just 3 minutes, then drain, reserving a little of the pasta water, and turn into the pan with the shrimps. Raise the heat to high and add a ladle full of pasta water to the pan. Let cook rapidly, until the liquid in the pan is almost evaporated–not more than a minute because you don’t want to overcook the shrimps.
Add a pinch of ground red chili pepper and a couple of grinds of black pepper and turn the pasta into a warm bowl. Garnish with a dribble of oil and serve immediately.