One of the foods that falls in the “treat yourself” category has to be shrimp. I recall my father letting me go to lunch by myself as a child on his account, and getting a bill later in the week for me having 3 shrimp cocktails for lunch. I knew how to eat when I was 8!
COOKING OF SHRIMP
It does not take long to cook shrimp. If you cook shrimp for longer than 3 minutes, chances are they will be over done! Make sure to add them right towards the end of cooking, otherwise you will have very tough shrimp.
The shrimp pictured in my photos are curled beyond recognition and this is because they are pre-deveined, and when they do that, on the boat, they usually cut so deep it butterflies the shrimp in the process.
SELECTING THE LITTLE GUYS
A cautionary word. I have not been food poisoned often. I have a strong constitution, and an iron will, but when you think about it, it only takes one bad shrimp to ruin your night. In my case it did, and nearly missed a Dive trip as a result. Take the selection of your shrimp very seriously!
90% of shrimp today is IQF, which you will remember means frozen. That is fine, and they will thaw just as well as the scallops we talked about before. What you want to do, is make sure they survived well and intact. Check a few of the shrimp and make sure the flesh is resilient, and not mushy at all. Make sure the shell does not just fall off the flesh, is should require a little encouragement to detach itself.
In the professional world, we leave the tails on strictly as a garnish, and to help improve the size of the shrimp. At home I usually don’t bother leaving them on unless it is for a party, of course!
SIZE MATTERS, WHEN YOU PAY ANYWAYS
Obviously, the older the shrimp, the larger it is, and usually the more flavor it will have, but it also can be tougher, so when you start getting into the monster ones, bear that in mind, and choose a cooking method that will suit the big guys.
How a shrimp’s size is determined is very easy to get, once you know what you are looking for. The size is usually one of two things, a number range, say 31-40, or a number like U15. In either case, the number(s) is representative of how many shrimp are in a pound at that size. So if you math it out, U15 shrimp are just over 1 ounce each. (16oz / 15 = 1.06666) a pound of 31-40 shrimp would give you about 55 shrimp in a pound.
Check out our great Recipes on how to cook shrimp, and enjoy!