Photo: Take a wild Canadian home for dinner

(All photos: Karianne Blank)

Shrimp hold an unusual claim in Canada's seafood market: they're both our most imported and most exported seafood product.

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In 2012, we imported 54,000 tonnes of farmed, warm-water shrimp, mostly from Asia, and exported 86,000 tonnes of cold-water, wild-caught shrimp. Although stocks have naturally declined over the last year, our Atlantic shrimp fishery has grown to be Canada's largest fishery by volume. As Canadians increasingly favour local foods, now is a good time to give our shrimp a try.

The Marine Stewardship Council recognizes Canada's Atlantic shrimp fisheries as sustainable and well-managed and SeaChoice labels them "yellow", or "some concerns". Cold-water shrimp are fast-growing and resilient to fishing pressures. The industry is working to reduce habitat impacts from bottom trawls.

Although different species, Atlantic and Pacific shrimp are both marketed as northern or pink shrimp, so check labels carefully or ask your fish monger for location details.

Chefs and foodies sing the praises of cold-water shrimp, for their sweet, delicate taste and firm, crisp meat that's moister than tropical species. All things considered, cold-water shrimp are good options compared to imported, warm-water choices.

Try these two quick and healthy recipes for a taste of what Canadian shrimp can do.

Canadian pink shrimp tacos with spiced sour cream

Serves two
These easy and quick tacos bring the sweetness out of pre-cooked, frozen Canadian shrimp, while lots of healthy veggies add colour.


* 350 ml (1 1/2 cups) Canadian northern or pink frozen, cooked shrimp, defrosted
* 1 lime, juiced
* 2.5 ml (1/2 tsp) salt
* 5 ml (1 tsp) smoked or standard chili powder
* 1 ml (1/4 tsp) cayenne, or to taste

Spiced sour cream
* 75 ml (1/3 cup) sour cream
* 5 ml (1 tsp) smoked or standard chili powder
* 2.5 ml (1/2 tsp) salt
* 2.5 ml (1/2 tsp) cumin
* 1 ml (1/4 tsp) cayenne, or to taste
* 1 ml (1/4 tsp) cinnamon

* 1 avocado, diced
* 1 mango, diced
* 125 ml (1/2 cup) red cabbage, finely shredded
* 300 ml (1/4 cup) cilantro, chopped
* 6 to 8 soft corn tortillas, warmed

Rinse shrimp under cold water and drain well. In a medium bowl, mix shrimp, lime juice, salt and chili powder. Refrigerate mixture for 15 to 20 minutes.

In a small bowl, mix together sour cream, chili powder, salt, cumin, cinnamon and cayenne. Set aside.

Remove shrimp from refrigerator. Place a small spoonful of avocado and mango on each tortilla and top with cabbage and shrimp. Finish with a sprinkling of cilantro and a dollop of spiced sour cream.


Savoury fried brown rice with Canadian northern shrimp

Serves three to four
Brown rice and extra veggies makes this a healthy alternative to standard fried rice. Canadian northern shrimp add a delicate sweetness.


  • 500 ml (2 cups) cooked brown rice (leftovers preferred)
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, diced finely
  • 250 ml (1/2 cup) green beans, cut in one-inch segments
  • 75 ml (1/3 cup) red pepper, diced finely
  • 150 ml (2/3 cup) frozen Canadian northern shrimp, defrosted and rinsed
  • 75 ml (1/3 cup) shiitake mushroom, diced
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2.5 ml (1/2 tsp) salt
  • 10 ml (2 tsp) Chinese cooking wine (Shaoxing), divided
  • 7.5 ml (1.5 tsp) soy sauce
  • 2.5 ml (1/2 tsp) sesame oil
  • dash vegetable or olive oil
  • sliced green onion, to garnish

Prepare all ingredients ahead of time, as quick cooking at high heat is key to getting fried rice with great texture.

On medium-high or high heat, warm a large skillet or wok. Add a dash of oil to coat the cooking surface. Add garlic, stirring for one minute or until barely golden. Add mushrooms, green beans and peppers, cooking for one minute and stirring frequently. Add shrimp, then salt and half the cooking wine. Let cook for two minutes, stirring frequently. Add rice, remainder of cooking wine and soy sauce. Stir for one minute.

Use a spatula to push rice to one side of the pan or wok. Pour the beaten egg on the empty area. Allow the egg to sit untouched until the edges are slightly firm, then stir them until they are a soft, scrambled texture before stirring in the rice. Cook for one minute more. Serve hot, garnished with green onion.

March 26, 2014

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