How to buy and cook shrimp

Cooking shrimp is easier than making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. That’s what my neighbor told me when I mentioned I was very intimidated by the process. I LOVE shrimp, but I had never in my life attempted to make it because I didn’t know how. Besides not knowing how to cook it, I didn’t know what to buy: already cooked and frozen, not cooked and frozen with tail, without tail, de-veined, fresh over the counter at the grocery store–intimidating. When I had my weight loss adventure back in February, shrimp was something I had on my list to eat, and I was getting tired of other things, so I figured I’d give cooking shrimp a try. In the event that any of you out there are just as scared by the process as I was, I’ll give you a few simple tips that my neighbor gave me (he owns a fishing gear company, Hookset Marine Gear).  I am by NO means a shrimp cooking expert, these are just my simple tips to ease one into the life of cooking shrimp.

How to buy shrimp:

* No need to buy fresh shrimp. It’s more expensive and highly perishable.  Fresh at the storie is generally frozen shrimp thawed anyway (most shrimp is caught and quickly frozen to retain freshness) so buying frozen is actually smarter. Unless you are buying shrimp right off of the boat, don’t mess with fresh. If it  has ice crystals on it, avoid.

*Buy frozen shrimp still in it shell with the tail on.  I wasn’t excited about this, taking off the shells seemed like a lot of work!  However, the flavor is better retained within the frozen shell.

*Buy de-veined.  I really didn’t want to mess with the vein, and vein already out tasted just as good to me.

*Pink shrimp is cooked and frozen. Gray shrimp is frozen raw. Pink may seem faster to cook, but you have to thaw and cook both, the gray will give you a more fresh taste.

*They come in varying sizes, I go for the small/medium size because I prefer 10 small shrimp to 5 large.  Just seems like more;)

Here is a bag purchased at Costco frozen, deveined, with tail on

How to cook shrimp:

I’ve only tried two methods: Boiling & Grilling. On the back of the frozen bag from the grocery store are simple steps.

Boiling

*Start your water boiling on the stove.

*Spices, spices, spices. My  neighbor recommened Old Bay, but I’ve also used Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning.  Toss the spices into the boiling water before shrimp.

*Grab a handful of shrimp and put it in a colander and run it in the sink under cold water for 2-3 minutes.

*Though it was recommended to me to peel the shell after cooking (for more flavor), I wanted to get it done with before, and I peel the shrimp in the colander while thawing it.

*Toss the thawed shrimp into the boiling water for just 3 minutes or so (depending on size, remember, I use small/medium).  I timed this because over cooked shrimp is too chewy. 3 minutes seemed to do the trick for me.

*Strain the shrimp in a clean colander, or pull them out with tongs.

*I like to eat with broccoli and squeezed lemon juice on top of all.

*Voila!  Yummy cooked shrimp in under 10 minutes total.

*If the shrimp are not intended to eat right away, chill under cold water to stop the cooking process or they will get tough.

My favorite spices:

Grilled

*Soak wood skewers for 30 minutes before

*Partially thaw shrimp under chilled water in colander

*Take off the shell

*It is easier to place slightly frozen shrimp on a skewer than thawed all the way, but too frozen is tough!

*Brush a little extra virgin olive oil on top, season the thawed shrimp on the skewers (You can also pre-marinate, I haven’t tried that yet)

*Grill until it turns pink–under 10 minutes (5 on each side)

Here are a few shrimp recipes that I have pinned:

shrimp tacos with cilantro lime sauce

coconut shrimp curry

Do you cook shrimp?  What are your tried and true tips?

p.s. I am guest posting over at  Your Homebased Mom today, sharing a raspberry lemon squares recipe.  Go say hello!

Don't miss a single post! Get all my posts in your email.

Join The Discussion

*

CommentLuv badge

Comments

  1. Suzanne says:

    I love shrimp but find it intimidating to prepare as well. You had me hook, line and sinker with the first line. :-) I will definitely try to boil it in the future. I have sauteed it and love it that way. My favorite way is sauteed with garlic and tomatoes. Delish!

  2. I LOVE shrimp! My mom actually has a way to make a shrimp scampi/lemon shrimp! It’s SO easy and a low fat way to get that yummy flavor. All you gotta do is spray on some butter flavored cooking spray (a pretty good amount)and sprinkle with lemon pepper and you’ve got yourself some delicious shrimp! SO good!

  3. just made some with cous cous last night. butter and garlic in the pan with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes, cook 2 minutes each side. The cous cous takes 5 minutes as well, which is perfect!

  4. My mom always used crab boil seasoning for boiled shrimp. She would buy the fresh shrimp, devein them, boil them with the crab boil seasoning, and we would happily shell and eat them as fast as we could. Good stuff!!

    I’ve never done it myself, but this could give me a serious craving for it.

    • kristen duke photography says:

      Ava, I think a boil would be delicious! I ate at crawfish boils all growing up, and did the same peeling;)