Our Experts’ Top Ways to Perfectly Prepare Shrimp
Shrimp appetizers and entrées are perfect for holiday parties. Shrimp is easy to prepare and almost universally loved. Even people who usually don’t like fish tend to enjoy these small shellfish. Since shrimp is low in fat and calories, guests who are watching their waistlines will be happy to see it on your menu.
If you are worried about making shrimp for the first time, we can help! Here are tips from our experts on how to shop for shrimp and how to perfectly prepare it.
Buying Tips for Shrimp
The rule of thumb when you are buying shrimp is that you should get 1 pound of raw and unpeeled shrimp per person or, if you are buying it cooked and peeled, 1/2 -1/3 pound per person. The number of shrimp per pound will vary by the size of shrimp. Usually, you will see numbering like this for shrimp: U/10, 16/20, 36/40, etc. These numbers indicate the amount of shrimp per pound. The smaller the shrimp, the greater the count will be per pound. The larger the shrimp, the smaller the count will be per pound. For example, if you see U/10 on a package of shrimp it means that they are “colossal” shrimp. There will be less than 10 of these large shrimps per pound.
Like most fish, frozen shrimp can be stored in a freezer for up to six months. If you plan to freeze it for a long time, make sure it isn’t peeled or de-veined. It loses its flavor and texture faster without the shell on. If you prefer to buy shrimp that has already been peeled or de-veined, you should buy it fresh and use it right away. Fresh, raw shrimp should be cooked within a couple of days for the best taste and texture.
The black line or “vein” you see on shrimp is its digestive track. You can eat shrimp with it but it is easy to remove if you prefer not to. The simplest way to remove it is when the shrimp is still raw with the tip of a paring knife. After peeling off the shell, gently run the knife along the back near the vein. You should be able to get it out without cutting into the meat of the shrimp. If you don’t want to remove the shell yet, you should use a de-veining tool. You can find one at most kitchen stores.
The 3 Best Methods for Cooking Shrimp
There are three different ways to cook shrimp: grilled, sautéed, or boiled. You can use any one of these methods to make perfect shrimp.
1) Tips for Grilling Shrimp
The best way to grill shrimp is either on a skewer or wrapped in foil so that the shrimp won’t fall into the fire. If you plan to marinade your shrimp before putting it on the grill, make sure to remove the shell. You should also remove the shell if you want your shrimp to have that smoky flavor from the grill. If you aren’t looking forward to that smoking flavor and aren’t going to use a marinade, you can leave the shell on. It will keep the shrimp moist and enhance its flavor.
Once you place the shrimp on the grill, cook it on each side for 1 ½ – 2 ½ (3-5 minutes total) or until its pinkish instead of grey.
2) Tips for Sautéing Shrimp
To sauté shrimp, heat butter or oil over medium heat in a skillet. If you’d like, you can add minced garlic, red pepper flakes, or other spices to the oil. Then add in peeled shrimp. Add a splash of lemon juice or white wine to deepen the flavors. Cook for 2-5 minutes or until it looks cooked. It’s best served over grits, pasta or rice.
3) Tips for Boiling Shrimp
Boiling shrimp is the simplest, low calorie method for making shrimp. It is also the best way to prepare it for shrimp cocktails, salsa and other cold dishes.
Bring water, with seasoning of your choice (bay leaves, garlic salt and pepper are a popular seasoning mix, so are lemon juice, garlic, onion, and parsley), to a boil in a medium to large pot. While the water heats up, prepare a bowl with cold water to immerse the shrimp in after it is cooked. (The trick to making tender boiled shrimp is giving it a bath in cold water as soon as you take it out of the pot. This stops the cooking process. If you skip this step, your shrimp may turn out rubbery tasting.)
Once the water is boiling, add in the shrimp. Cook for 2-3 minutes or until all the shrimp are slightly pink. Then, immediately, drain the shrimp and immerse it in the cool water.
Now you know how to make the best shrimp. Check out our Pinterest for ideas for shrimp appetizers or entrees! If you need to pick up shrimp for your holiday gatherings, swing by our seafood counter!