Cooking shrimp can be intimidating especially since it’s not quite your ordinary meal. But they are absolutely delicious and they are so versatile that there are so many ways to cook shrimp and add them to different types of dishes. This guide will tell you the most important things you need to know about shrimp and the perfect way to store, prepare and cook them.
Shrimp can be included in all kinds of cuisine. They can be appetizers or the main course. You can even mix them with pasta. It’s easier to cook shrimp than you might think. The best part is, you can eat them with lots of different sauces, side dishes, and they’re great with wine. Eat them with rice or plain.
Here are some facts you might not know about shrimp. Some of them can be found in Antarctica, which is fascinating because it’s a very cold climate. They may also not be the best food for pregnant women.
Choosing Good Shrimp
When choosing shrimp, here are a few handy tips.
Buy 1 to 1 and a half pounds of shrimp for each pound of shelled shrimp that you would need. The price is usually by the pound and the size of the shrimp. If you choose bigger shrimp, the price will be higher and it will weigh less.
Choose Moist Shells
Choose shrimp that have firm, juicy, and translucent shells that are moist. It shouldn’t have black spots unless they are tiger shrimps. This makes a big difference when you cook shrimp.
The scent of the shrimp should be fresh and sea like. Beware of the scent of ammonia because it indicates that the shrimp has gone bad and that is the worst when you cook shrimp.
Fresh or Frozen
Most of the shrimp you will find in markets or grocery stores have been frozen. The good news is that shrimp freeze remarkably well. If you choose to buy frozen shrimp, make sure to put them in a sealed container and thaw them in the fridge overnight before you cook shrimp. You can place it in a colander and run it under cold running water for about 2 minutes if you want to speed up the thawing. Do not use warm water because it could alter the texture.
If you choose fresh shrimp, make sure to cook them immediately to avoid them from spoiling. You can store them in a large bowl half filled with ice. Nestle them into the ice and make sure that they are not too close to the bottom of the bowl. The melted water will accumulate in the bottom and it could ruin the fresh shrimp. Cover the bowl and put it in the fridge until you’re ready to cook shrimp. Add more water if necessary.
These are the things that you need to do before you cook shrimp.
If your shrimp recipe requires peeled shrimp, you need to peel the shrimp properly. Other shrimp dishes are okay with shrimp with the skin on. To peel the shrimp, open its shell lengthwise going down to the belly side which is curved inside.
Start at the head and peel the shell backward. Pull the tail gently to remove it. You can leave it on if you like for certain types of dishes.
The vein could cause an unpleasant taste so it’s important to remove it. Use the tip of a small knife to locate the vein of the shrimp. Place the tip under the vein and carefully lift it out. Pull it until the entire vein is removed then rinse the shrimp under cold water.
Ways to Cook Shrimp
Here are many of the basic ways to cook shrimp.
Grilled shrimp on skewers are delicious. They are one of the favorite summer treats to cook out. First, season the shrimp as you prefer once you’ve done the preparations.
To grill them directly, thread the shrimp onto skewers to make kabobs. Grill them over medium coals for 6 to 8 minutes for extra-large shrimp. For jumbo shrimp, increase the grilling time to 10 to 12 minutes or until they are opaque.
Check if the shrimp has a pink color on the outside. You can cut into the shrimp to make sure that it is opaque all throughout the flesh.
You can also cook shrimp on the stove using a skillet. Use a nonstick skillet and allow it to heat on the stove with about 1 to 2 tablespoons of oil or butter, depending on your preferences, over medium-high heat. Add the shrimp and cook it, stirring for 3 to 4 minutes or until they are opaque. You can also turn each shrimp halfway through the cooking time. Remove them from the skillet.
The length of time you need to cook shrimp in the oven depends on the recipe. It can also vary depending on whether the shrimp are fresh or frozen. There are lots of recipes for baked shrimp and you can experiment on them with different sauces, spices, and seasoning.
For a basic baked shrimp in lemon garlic sauce, simply preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Place the shrimp in a baking dish in a single layer coated with cooking spray.
To make the sauce, mix some lemon juice, melted light butter, 3 minced garlic cloves, a teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce, and some seasoning. Pour the sauce over the shrimp.
Bake it at 425 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes or until they are done. To check if the shrimp is done, the color should be opaque from the skin all throughout the flesh. Sprinkle it with parsley and serve it immediately.
There are other recipes out there on how to cook shrimp. Some of them have the skin on for crispy shrimp. Others are most simple, involving only a few ingredients and sautéing. For best result when cooking shrimp, it’s good to combine olive oil and butter because it gives shrimp the best flavor. Another tip is to buy shrimp that is already peeled and deveined to save time in preparation.