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How to Cook Perfect Shrimp Every Time!

best-shrimpShrimp is the most popular seafood in the United States. These versatile shellfish have a mild flavor and firm texture that makes them ideal for many dishes from pasta to tacos. Making the perfect shrimp at home is easy! Just follow these six tips.

 Thaw Shrimp Properly

Whether you buy shrimp from the frozen section or seafood counter doesn’t matter. Even raw shrimp from a seafood counter were originally frozen. You can enjoy the same great taste by picking up a bag of shrimp in the shell from the frozen food aisle. (It is best to buy them in the shell for flavor). What matters is whether you thaw them properly.

If you buy frozen shrimp, they should be thawed before you cook them. You can either thaw them in the refrigerator (approximately 24 hours per pound) or by placing them in a strainer and running cold water over them. Never thaw them on the counter or under hot water.

 Pick up the Right Size & Amount

Shrimp sizes are not standardized. Instead of relying on labels like small, medium, jumbo or colossal, check out the counts on the bags. The more shrimp per pound, the smaller the size. The less shrimp per pound, the greater the size. For example: if you want smaller shrimp for a pasta, choose a bag that says 21/25 which means there will be 21 to 25 shrimp in the bag. If you want larger shrimp for grilling, choose a bag that says U/15 which means under 15.  If you intend shrimp to be the main course, it’s a good rule of thumb to purchase ½ pound per person.

Always Devein or Buy Deveined

You may have noticed a dark thread running down the back of shrimp. That vein is the shrimp’s digestive tract. If you cook and eat it with the vein, you may get some sand in your teeth. To avoid that, make sure to either buy shrimp deveined or remove the vein yourself.

Removing the vein is simple. If the shrimp are in the shell, use a small knife or sharp kitchen scissors to cut along the back of the shell. Once you can access the vein, use the tip of a small knife to catch the vein and pull it out.

 Use the Shell to Your Benefit

shrimp cookedCooking shrimp with the shell on makes them juicier and more flavorful. If you prefer to take the shells off beforehand, it is a good idea to marinate the shrimp or cook it in a combination of oil and butter. You can use the uncooked shells to make a seafood stock for stews and chowders. Don’t Over Marinate

Unlike chicken or steak, it isn’t a good idea to marinate shrimp overnight. When you are using an acidic marinade (lemon, lime, orange or vinegar-based), the longest you should let it marinate is 30 minutes. If you let it marinate any longer, it can begin to cook the shrimp or give it a mushy texture. When you are using a non-acidic marinade (oil or butter-based), you only need to let it marinate for an hour. It is always best to marinate shrimp in the fridge, not at room temperature.

Keep Your Eyes on It While it Cooks

Shrimp cooks quickly! If you step away to check on another dish or chat with a guest, it could easily overcook. It’s smart to always keep your eyes on it while it’s cooking. You may notice, before you put it on the heat, that it looks like a wide U. The shape will change as it cooks. This is one of the simplest ways to know when it is done. When shrimp is done, it will be curled into a C shape. If it curls into an O shape, it is overcooked.

We hope that these 6 tips help you make restaurant-quality shrimp dishes at home! You can find every size of shrimp for your dinner at City Fish Market!