Although I enjoy larger shrimp as often as possible, there truly is no shrimp like Maine shrimp. Some chefs compare it to Gulf of Mexico shrimp, but as a Yankee, a Yankee Chef no less, the beautiful pink(and sometimes red) color is just simply more inviting than the drab grayish color of our friends down in the other Gulf. It is the cold Atlantic Ocean that our shrimp is caught wild and the sweet delicate taste shines through.
Maine Shrimp Rounds
8 ounces Maine shrimp, drained well
3 tablespoons butter or margarine, divided
2 tablespoons flour
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
Salt and black pepper to taste
2 eggs, beaten
2 tablespoons milk
2 cups unseasoned breadcrumbs
3 cups vegetable oil, for frying.
Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. When melted, add the shrimp. Stir and cook until just done, about 2 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon, leaving butter in pan. Set aside to cool. When cooled, chop finely.
Melt remainder of butter in same saucepan over medium-high heat. Add flour and whisk well so there are no lumps. Pour in the milk and whisk well. Continue cooking and stirring until thickened, about 2-3 minutes. Add the cheeses, lemon juice, zest, shrimp and salt and pepper. Remove from heat, the mixture will be very thick and the cheese will not be melted, but that is fine. Let cool 15 minutes, cover and refrigerate until completely cooled, about 1 hour.
Heat oil in a large, sturdy pot over medium-medium high heat until 350-degrees F is reached, or use a deep fryer according to manufacturers instructions.
Remove cheese sauce from refrigerator and this is where your hands get a little messy. Remove a ball of chilled shrimp mixture, the size is up to you but generally the size of half a ping pong ball. Shape into a ball and dip in the beaten egg, Dredge in the bread crumbs and fry until golden brown, about 2-3 minutes. Cook in batches, removing to a paper towel lined plate. Make a wintertime picnic out of it by serving some potato salad and coleslaw.