Kathy Maister's Start Cooking

Cooking Shrimps: Tips and Recipes

posted in Meat, Poultry and Seafood by Lisa Freeman

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Shrimp are delicious, with a broad appeal. The next time you have friends over, try serving shrimp cocktail and watch how quickly it disappears! And, as we’ll discuss below, there are many other ways to serve this nutritious food.

Many people love shrimp, love ordering it in restaurants, but don’t love the idea of cooking it at home. They sometimes think it’s complicated, what with all those shells, legs and feelers! But it’s really not so difficult, even for beginners, to create a succulent treat.

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Ingredients for Shrimp Scampi

Novices should note that it’s possible to buy shrimp already peeled. If you’ve never bought or prepared shrimp before, check out Kathy’s post.

Some Hints on Preparing Shrimp:

  • Decide what size of shrimp to buy based on what you’re making. Typically, the fishmonger or supermarket offers small, medium, large and jumbo. I usually go for medium because they cook down to being bite-sized. If I’m making shrimp cocktail, I choose the large size. The small ones are great for tossing into salads and the jumbos work well on the grill. The bigger the shrimp, the bigger the price tag.
  • Don’t be too concerned about the type of shrimp being sold; most people can’t taste the difference between white shrimp or tiger shrimp, which is often imported from Asia.
  • I prefer to buy shrimp from the fresh fish section because I can quiz the fishmonger about it. If you are buying “previously frozen” or fresh shrimp, ask the salesperson if you can sniff it. It should smell like seawater or maybe seaweed. The flesh shouldn’t look pink in color (unless it’s already cooked).
  • In the freezer section of your local supermarket, you might find frozen shrimp in vacuum-sealed bags, either cooked or uncooked. I find that the texture of the bagged, frozen type can sometime be a bit gummy.
  • I’m not a fan of buying pre-cooked shrimp. I’d rather know that it’s fresh and cook it myself. But if you have to buy it pre-cooked, get confirmation from the vendor that it was cooked the same day.
  • Next, decide whether to cook the shrimp with the shell on or off. I usually remove it, because getting the shell off a cooked shrimp is a pain in the neck. But go by personal preference or what the recipe calls for.

9 Simple Shrimp Recipes to get You Started:

  1. Shrimp Cocktail: It’s so easy to make this appetizer and most people can’t seem to get enough of it. Make fresh cocktail sauce instead of using jarred stuff if you can — it’s a breeze and you can control the spiciness.
  2. Grilled Shrimp with Mango: These simple kebabs of shrimp and mango are a great way to try shrimp on the grill (or under the broiler). You can use another thick fruit, such as pineapple, and still get delicious results.
  3. Shrimp Scampi: My husband likes to say that you could put garlic on a brick and it would make it taste good — and adding garlic to shrimp is no exception.

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    People just love this dish, and it’s way cheaper to make at home than buy at a restaurant.

  4. Shrimp Salad: Shrimp and greens are a marriage made in heaven. If you love artichoke, this artichoke and shrimp salad is a good option. For something totally different, I adore this high-fiber White Bean and Shrimp variation.
  5. Shrimp Jambalaya: This Cajun specialty makes a batch of leftovers that taste even better the next day or two. It also freezes fairly well.
  6. Shrimp and Snow Pea Stir Fry: Ever-versatile shrimp lends itself well to a stir fry.
  7. Asian Firecracker Shrimp: These are to die for! Rolled up in an eggroll wrapper and fried, these look difficult. But I gave them a whirl for a party and found them easy to prepare. My dinner guests were clamoring for the recipe.
  8. Buffalo Shrimp: If you like spice, this recipe for battered and fried shrimp with buffalo sauce will be right up your alley.
  9. Fried Shrimp: It’s not the healthiest way to eat shrimp, but I have to make it every 6 weeks. I just can’t help it. You can also try shrimp in beer batter or the coconut-fried way. Or, take it to the limit with a New Orleans-style Shrimp Po’ Boy sandwich.

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