It was so cold the sap wasn’t running but that didn’t stop Chandler’s Sugar Shack from opening up on Maine Maple Sunday. The sap did run briefly but it was just enough to flush the lines between 3,100 taps. They aren’t too discouraged because it’s going to warm up later this week and when it does, they’ll be boiling and the public is welcome to drop in. If you drive by them on Rt 6 in Kossuth and there’s steam coming out of the vents, stop in. They’ll give you the grand tour.
Maple syrup is one of Maine’s best forest products in my not at all humble opinion. I use it to bake, to sweeten my coffee and of course on pancakes and waffles. Maine Maple Sunday has been a great way to celebrate one of Maine’s best foods.
I used last year’s syrup to whip up a new recipe I call Grilled Dirty Maple Shrimp. It’s a lot tastier than it sounds. Since we don’t have fresh Maine shrimp this year I bought cleaned, uncooked shrimp at the grocery. This recipe makes enough marinade for two pounds of shrimp.
Grilled Dirty Maple Shrimp
2 cups Maine maple syrup
1/8 to 1/4 cup Captain Mowatt’s Dirty Mustard
1 Tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
1/4 cup olive oil
That’s it. It’s that simple. Mix it together. Add thawed, drained shrimp to the marinade and allow it to sit in the fridge for at least two hours. Longer is better. The shrimp isn’t going to absorb a lot of flavor. The marinade might seem a little too tangy if you try it but won’t be when you cook the shrimp.
I used a cast iron grill to cook the shrimp. Spread olive oil on the grill and pre-heat. The grill is ready when a drop of the marinade sizzles. Place the shrimp on the grill and leave undisturbed for three minutes. Flip and finish cooking. They brown nicely because of the sugar in the syrup.
Leftover shrimp, if there is such a thing, is just as good for lunch the next day as it was for supper.
This chart shows the start and end dates for the maple syrup season in the past. Surprisingly, this isn’t a record for starting late. Bob Chandler says they’ll do just fine in the five or so weeks he expects to be boiling. It’s going to warm up later in the week and when it does, they’ll be hard at work.