Shrimp, like other seafood, provides an opportunity to diversify your diet with healthy and tasty foods. They contain a lot of protein, which, although of animal origin, is better and easier to digest than protein from meat. The amount of fat in shrimp is minimal, as well as the number of calories, which makes it possible to include them in dietary meals. They contain a wonderful array of vitamins, as well as a lot of magnesium, a mineral necessary for the health of all body systems, and especially for the nervous system. And finally, don’t cause allergies.
At the same time, cooking this type of seafood is as easy as playing at a casino, if you know how and how much to cook shrimp. Let’s figure out how to do it and what to pay attention to in order to get the desired result – delicious and juicy shrimp, which could be eaten as a separate appetizer or used as an ingredient for dishes.
To begin with, let’s pay attention to the types of shrimp that can be found on store shelves:
- Argentine – named after their habitat and catch, they have the distinctive red shell and stand out among other species with a slightly sweet taste.
- Royal – not a species, but a marketing ploy that combines the largest specimens of different species under one name.
- Tiger – named by analogy with a representative of the feline family because of the pronounced stripes on the carapace.
- Atlantic, also called northern, is the smallest and least fleshy.
Shrimp are sold raw, boiled-frozen and frozen. In regions far from the sea we advise buying frozen, since fresh shrimps have a very limited shelf life: they should be cooked the day they are caught. Cook only raw shrimp – they can be easily recognized by their grayish-green color. If it’s written “boiled-frozen” on the package, this means that the shrimps have already cooked, it is not necessary to do it repeatedly – you only need to defrost them. By the way, any frozen shrimp should be defrosted before cooking, otherwise they will cook unevenly, which will affect both their texture and their taste.
How to Defrost Shrimp
If you have time or have thought ahead to cook the shrimp, put them right in the package on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator. Depending on the size and amount of shrimp, it will take 7-8 to 12-14 hours to defrost.
If there isn’t much time, transfer the shrimp from the packet to a salad bowl and place under running cold water. It is cold water, as hot water will distort the taste.
Also, don’t defrost shrimp at room temperature or in the microwave, because after cooking the shrimp will be “rubbery” and tasteless.
Boil With the Shell or Not?
Generally, if you have a choice, it’s better to buy shrimp in the shell – it protects frozen shrimp from damage and guarantees more juiciness when boiled. So our advice is to cook the shrimp unpeeled.
Also, if you suddenly miscalculated with salt and spices and put them more than required by the recipe, the shell will absorb the excess, and the shrimp meat will remain balanced in taste.
Another unobvious, but important point in terms of zero waste – the concept that we strive to reduce food waste to zero – is the fact that we can cook shrimp without the shell. We can cook shrimp without shell, in which case we leave it, as well as the tail and head, add roots and spices, and cook the broth. Freeze it and use it as a base for soups and sauces.
Cooking Delicious Shrimp in 6 Steps
After defrosting the shrimp, we proceed to cooking. In principle, the recipe is the same for all types of shrimp, but the cooking time may vary depending on the type and size of crustaceans.
Step 1: Rinse the shrimp in running water to remove any ice residues and possible debris.
Step 2: Bring the water to the boil – it should be twice as big as the shrimp. When it boils, salt it and add spices, for example a pepper, bay leaf, rosemary, a few slices of garlic or lemon, if you wish.
Step 3: We put the shrimp in the boiling water, turn down the heat to minimum and periodically remove the foam with a slotted spoon. On average, it’s recommended to cook small shrimps (Atlantic) for 2 minutes, medium shrimps (Argentine) – 4-6 minutes, large (king and tiger) – 8-10 minutes. As soon as the shrimp have changed color from gray to moderately pink, and the shell has become as if transparent, we remove from the fire and discard in a colander. There is another way to determine if the shrimp is ready: properly cooked shrimp like the letter “C”. If the shrimp is undercooked, it will be straight, but if it’s overcooked it will curl up into a ring.
Step 4: Pour the shrimp into a bowl filled with ice – this will improve their texture and flavor and help them peel faster.
Step 5: Peel the shrimp by notching the shell on the back with a sharp knife or scissors and removing the head and tail. Don’t forget to take out the black “string”.
Step 6: Serve on its own with a slice of lemon or lime on the plate, or use as an ingredient in a dish.