How to cook raw shrimp?

July 24, 2009 by shrimplo  
Filed under Q&A

How to cook raw shrimp?

Since shrimp happens to be the seafood that is best conserved frozen, it’s important to know what to do with frozen shrimp. Large bags of shrimp are easily stored in a freezer and forgotten, as we always have the intention of one day finding out what is the best way to cook them. Well, the first step to cooking frozen shrimp is to choose the right ones at the store.

At the grocery store we usually have a choice between fresh and packaged, frozen shrimp. The truth is that, most likely, the fresh shrimp has been thawed, and so is really no different from the frozen. So, always check to see if the fresh shrimp they are selling happens to be more expensive than the frozen, in which case, it is more worthwhile to buy the frozen package, for cheaper and maybe even fresher (since it won’t be refrozen). However, since shrimp freezes so well, re-freezing is not a problem.

When buying shrimp, try to find them between 35 and 40 count per pound (this means 40 individual shrimps by the pound). Too much smaller than this (higher than 40 per pound), and they’ll be very hard to prepare. Peeling and de-veining will be impossible. Try not to purchase pre-peeled shrimp. The shells contain a lot of the shrimp’s original flavor and it’s best to do the peeling shortly before cooking. Plus, the peeled shells can be used as flavoring in other recipes (more on that later).

Okay, so, on to preparation:

First – Here i’m describing the faster way to thaw, but if you’d like a longer, more taste-retentent thaw, you can take the shrimp out of the freezer a day or two in advance and place them in a covered bowl in the refrigerator.

Or, for a faster thaw:

Thawing – Place the frozen shrimp into a bowl or basin filled with cold water and leave it there for about 10 minutes. Then, replace the old water with new and let it sit for another 20 minutes. A half hour should be plenty of time for the shrimp to thaw enough so that you can peel them.

Peeling – Hold the skin of the shrimp and pull on it’s feet until the skin comes off. The whole skin should pull free except for the tail, which you can remove by simply pulling on it. Smell the peeled shrimp, if it has a strong smell of fish or ammonia it is not fresh enough for cooking and you should thwrow it away.

Deveining – Shrimps have a single vein in them, which a lot of people worry about as a health peril and that is very easy to remove. Simply use a very small knife to cut a slit in the back of the peeled shrimp and then pick out the vein (it’s very easy to find). This slit is the perfect place to apply seasoning (since it will sink into the shrimp)/

Next – Grab a lemon and squeeze a little bit of juice over the shrimp. If you plan on keeping the shells, put them away quickly (or else, discard them) because, left out, they will fill your kitchen with a terrible smell. Shrimp should be prepared within 6 hours from thawing, so, if you’d like to leave them covered in the refrigerator until you’re ready to cook you can, but do not leave them outside the refrigerator for longer than 10 minutes.

Once done preparing your shrimp to be cooked, you must continue to the actual cooking. For this, I have prepared a “what is the best way to cook frozen shrimp” post that will explain all about it. Feel free to search around the site for other useful tips, recipes and explanations.

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