Among the many varieties of shellfish, shrimp ranks as one of
America’s favourite. Even people who don’t like fish seem
enjoy shrimp and there are endless ways in
what shrimp can be prepared. The dense white meat of shrimp
It has a fresh, mild flavor that goes well with many
ingredients. Shrimp are great for dieters as they are very
low in fat and calories; however, they contain a greater
cholesterol level than most shellfish, so it should be taken
in consideration if anyone has been advised by your
doctor to limit your cholesterol intake.
Of the many species of shrimp sold around the world, saltwater shrimp
shrimp are generally designated as ‘cold water’ or ‘warm
water species. Cold water shrimp are caught in the North
Atlantic and North Pacific waters, while warm-water shrimp
They are caught in tropical waters. Most of the warm water
shrimp available in the United States are harvested from the
waters of the Gulf of Mexico and the South Atlantic. Thesis
shrimp are generally classified by the color of the shells
(ie pink, brown and white shrimp). differences in
appearance and taste are difficult to distinguish but it is
thought that the Gulf white shrimp (although the most
expensive) are the most desirable.
Shrimp come in a wide range of sizes; naturally, the larger
the shrimp, the higher the price. Size Ratings Range
from Tiny (150 to 180 shrimp per pound) to Colossal (10
shrimp or less per pound). Although larger shrimp can cost
more per pound and it will be easier to prepare (because
have fewer of them), they don’t necessarily taste better
than the little ones.
SHRIMP PURCHASE AND STORAGE…
Shrimp ain’t cheap so you’ll want to be sure
that the shrimp you buy are of the best quality. Follow the
guidelines below when purchasing and storing shrimp:
When buying shrimp:
Buy frozen shrimp in their shells if possible.
Most shrimp are frozen as soon as they are processed and
the longer they stay frozen, the fresher they will be.
Look for shrimp with firm white meat and a full shell. Avoid
frozen shrimp that have already been peeled and deveined, such as
shrimp will be less protected from freezer burn
without its shell.
Do not buy shrimp with black spots or rings (unless it is
black tiger shrimp) as this indicates that the meat is beginning to
to break down. Also avoid pink meat.
Make sure the shell is not yellow; this indicates that the
the shrimp have been blanched.
Avoid shrimp that smell like anything other than salt water.
It should have a clean odor with no traces of ammonia or
Beware of labels like ‘large’ or ‘jumbo’ as there are
there are no firm guidelines for such terms. for each shrimp
variety (size), the market or grocery store must display the
number of shrimp that make up a pound – use this as a
guidelines in place.
Cooked shrimp must be purchased the same day they are
Cooked. If cooked in the shell, the shrimp should be
pinkish orange with opaque rather than translucent flesh.
Avoid freshly cooked seafood that is on display next to raw.
fish or shellfish, as bacteria can migrate from raw meat
When storing shrimp:
Raw shrimp should be stored like fish and used the same day purchased.
When you buy frozen shrimp, make sure they are still solid.
frozen when they reach the home freezer.
Cook raw shrimp before freezing…since ‘fresh’ shrimp are
most of the time previously frozen and then thawed in the market.
Cooked, shelled, and deveined shrimp can be frozen in
airtight packaging. Most types of raw or cooked shrimp can be
keep safely frozen for up to two months at room temperature.
Always thaw frozen seafood in the refrigerator rather than at room temperature.
It is much easier to eat shrimp that have been peeled before
for cooking, but the shells add flavor to the dish. Of
Of course, you can buy shrimp that have already been
shelled, deveined and ready to cook, but this makes
shrimp much more expensive. Shrimp will cost less if
buy them in the shell and learn how to shell and become them
yourself. Once you know how, it really isn’t difficult.
How to peel the shrimp:
To remove the shell from raw shrimp, use a small
knife to make a shallow cut in the back (outer curve
side) of each shrimp. Use your fingers to remove the shell.
and legs, leaving the tail part attached to the meat.
How to become shrimp:
The black “vein” that runs along the back of the shrimp is
actually your digestive tract. no need to remove
the vein, but the shrimp certainly look better and some say
they taste better when they are deveined. You can become a shrimp while
leaving the shell on (the shell adds flavor and can protect
the meat if you are grilling the shrimp).
For easy access to the vein of shelled shrimp,
Cut the back (curved outer side) of the shell with a
kitchen knife or scissors. Use a small beak (‘shrimp beak’),
a skewer or your fingers to find the vein and pull it out.
Extract as much as possible from the vein (working cold).
running water will help free the vein). Repeat in several
other areas until the vein has been completely removed.
How to butterfly shrimp:
Many recipes will call for ‘butterfly’ shrimp. The wound
shelled shrimp are split and flattened to give them a nice
appearance or aid in preparation, such as battering and
First peel the shrimp leaving the tail attached. next
insert a knife or kitchen shears about 3/4 of the way into
shrimp in the head region. Cut almost all the way
through the meat, down the center of the back of the shrimp and
to the tail Use your hands to open the shrimp meat.
until flat. Remove the vein with your fingers or with the
tip of a knife. Hold the shrimp under cold running water to
Methods of cooking shrimp:
When cooking shrimp, it is important to heat them
enough to destroy harmful organisms, but not as much
The meat toughens and loses flavor. This can
happen with just a few seconds of overcooking. The kitchen must be
closely supervised and times will vary by size.
Shrimp will undergo a characteristic change when cooked that
indicates that it is ready. Properly cooked shrimp meat
will become opaque and the color will change from
gray-green to pink or orange.
BAKED: Peeled shrimp stay moist when baked in foil
Baking packets in foil, arrange shrimp in a large square
of heavy-duty aluminum foil and add lemon slices and butter (herbs
and spices can also be added, if desired). fold the sheet
over shrimp and seal by bringing edges together.
Bake in an oven that has been preheated to 375F until just barely
done (approximately 5 minutes).
BOILED: Shelled or unshelled shrimp that are cooked ahead of time to serve cold or to use in a recipe are usually boiled. Add the raw shrimp to the water that has been brought to a boil. To give it more flavor, add a few lemon slices and boil the crab to
Water. Avoid overcooking or the shrimp will toughen and
loose flavor. Medium shrimp (2 to 3 inches long) take only
about 2 minutes to cook; larger shrimp take 3-5 minutes.
GRILLED OR GRILLED: Shrimp, shelled or unshelled, can be grilled on skewers or roasted in the oven; however, leaving
the shells will protect the delicate meat as it cooks and
add flavor. A marinade or baste will keep the shrimp moist.
MICROWAVE: This is a quick method of cooking shrimp. Arrange the shrimp (preferably shelled) around the edge of a
microwave-safe saucepan with tails pointing down
center Sprinkle with lemon juice and cook over high heat for 2
to 3 minutes. Be careful not to overcook.
POACHED: This cooking method works well for shell-on or shell-on shrimp. Shrimp poached in a mixture of water and lemon
juice or wine Flavor poaching liquid with herbs, yew
wanted. To poach 2 pounds of shrimp, bring 2 quarts of
liquid over low heat, add the shrimp and bring to a
boil. Once the liquid boils, cook the shrimp for 60 seconds,
then remove it immediately.
LEAP: This method of cooking shrimp traditionally
requires a bit of butter or oil, both for flavor and for
to prevent the shrimp from sticking to the pan. Remove the
shrimp from the pan immediately when they are done, or
continue to cook (and may overcook) from the heat of the pan
STEAMED: Steamed shrimp provide a smooth, fat-free flavor and
tasty cooking method. Steamed shelled shrimp in a
collapsible steamer or rack to steam over boiling water.
Seasonings can be added to the water in the steamer to
additional flavoring. Cook until the peel on the back
of the shrimp “lifts” from the meat.
SAUTE: Stir-frying is a quick cooking method that is very suitable for preparing shrimp. Cook and remove the peeled.
wok shrimp as soon as done then stir fry
the remaining ingredients on the plate. Return shrimp to
the cooked ingredients in the pan to reheat briefly
immediately before serving.
According to Bubba and Forrest Gump…
Shrimp is perhaps the most versatile shellfish in the world.
market. The amount of ingredients that complement the shrimp is
unlimited as it adapts well to both spicy and simple recipes.
Shrimp not only make a great gumbo, but can also be made
a simple pasta and sauce recipe in an elegant dish.
Although the ingredients may vary, there are only a few
Basic methods of shrimp preparation. Once you know how
select good shrimp and have a basic understanding of how to
prepare them, you will find endless ways to enjoy this
crustacean with a delicate and succulent flavor.
Copyright © 2005 Janice Faulk Duplantis