These ten-legged crustacean creatures are found in many seas and oceans, and therefore have long been familiar to gourmets from all over the world. However, they have gained popularity in Russia relatively recently, and therefore not everyone knows from which side to approach them. In this article we reveal the main points that will help to cook sea crustaceans no worse than in a restaurant.
Types of shrimp that you can buy in the store
To understand how to cook shrimp, you first need to take into account the form in which they were bought. There are three options:
- fresh raw (can only be found near the catch sites, as they spoil very quickly);
- frozen raw (infrequently, but still found in large seafood stores);
- frozen boiled (sold in almost all grocery supermarkets).
The main distinguishing characteristic of ready—made shrimp is a bright red-orange color, while raw crustaceans have an unattractive grayish-white color.
If you live near the sea, where there are shrimps, you can count on the opportunity to buy them alive. In other cases, it will be exclusively frozen product: even if the price tag says that the shrimp is fresh, in fact they were simply thawed before sale.
How to cook shrimp: controversial nuances
There is a lot of discussion about how best to deal with shrimp: clean them before cooking or after, sprinkle with lemon juice or pour sauce, fry, cook, bake or eat raw at all. In short: any options are possible.
Do I need to cook shrimp
Frozen red shrimp, bought in the supermarket, is a ready—made product. It is enough to simply defrost them and reheat them if desired, because they were cooked immediately after catching, directly on the ship. This method of preliminary preparation helps to protect the crustaceans from spoilage in the best way. But gray shrimp require heat treatment: they can be cooked, baked or fried.
You can also eat them raw: this is what the inhabitants of Thailand do, flavoring crustaceans with a spicy dressing of chili, lime and fish sauce. However, this option is suitable only for the freshest shrimp.
At what point and how to clean
It is possible before cooking, and it is possible just before eating. There are several arguments in favor of the second option at once:
- the head and shell are separated more easily after heat treatment;
- shrimp meat turns out to be more tender and juicy due to the fact that it was “sealed”;
- accidentally salted water will not spoil the treat too much thanks to the protection of the shell.
It is necessary to clean the shrimp starting from the head: it is carefully unscrewed, then removing the shell. Many also prefer to clean the crustaceans from the intestines. To do this, make an incision along the back and get a dark vein.
What to serve shrimp with
Shrimp can become a part of many dishes. When cleaned hot, they go well with pasta and rice. In many countries, they, along with other seafood, are put into soup — rice, cream or spicy vegetable. Chilled shrimp will be a nice hearty addition to the salad. Unpeeled shrimp are usually served as a separate treat: they can be either hot, freshly cooked, or cold — for beer or white wine.
How to cook shrimp properly
Red shrimp (ready-made)
The main secret is not to cook them at all. Once it has already been done, after the second the meat will become too tough and lose its juiciness. It is much better to just warm the crustaceans in boiling water or in a frying pan.
- Remove the shrimp from the freezer in advance and let them naturally thaw to a soft state on the refrigerator shelf or on the kitchen table. This slow defrosting will help to preserve the best taste. Then rinse them.
- Pour water into a saucepan, put in it a bay leaf, a few peas of black pepper and a little salt. Bring it to a state where steam begins to rise above the water.
- Put the shrimp in the water and keep it until it approaches the boiling point. Then the pan should be removed from the heat and let the shrimp stand under the lid for another one or two minutes.
Another, simpler option is to warm up in a microwave oven. Its disadvantage is that the shrimp will not be so fragrant.
Another way is roasting. It should be very fast so that the tender meat is not over-dried.
Grey shrimp (raw)
Raw shrimp also does not take much time to cook and digest them very easily, so be vigilant.
- After adding spices, put the pan on the fire.
- Put the pre-thawed or fresh shrimp in the boiling water, after rinsing them.
- Wait for the moment when the shrimp turn red and float up. After that, they can be removed from the water and put on a dish.
The smallest shrimp need no more than two minutes to get ready. If you cook medium-sized crustaceans, give them three to five minutes. And large tiger and king prawns can usually be taken out after seven to ten minutes.
Raw shrimp should be fried according to the same principle: as soon as they turn red, they can be served.