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lots and lots of shrimp, shrimp newbie!

I have the terrible burden of being overrun with wild shrimp. ;) My husband has gotten pretty good at catching them. I have about 7 lbs in the freezer and anticipate having more.

We don't normally eat shrimp due to its environmental impact, and I have almost never cooked it. Can I get a shrimp primer, if you will? I know you have to be careful not to overcook. I'm thinking I might want to buy a tool to help peel and devein? That sure is a pain. Is it worth trying recipes where you fry and eat the shell? (People do that, right?)

He froze them in freezer bags, but it looks like freezing in salted water would be better. I may take these ones out and throw them into containers of salted water unless you all advise me not to.

And how about some fave recipes? I am pretty severely lactose intolerant, but can eat goat cheese and butter. We also don't eat red meat or chicken. Other than that, we like and eat everything.

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  1. You can never go wrong with shrimp and garlic and butter and lemon. One of my favorites is an extra garlicky New Orleans style BBQ Shrimp with plenty of garlic. Mmm.

    1. Like, here is one question--how much difference does it really make to cook shell-on vs. shelled?

      2 Replies
      1. re: loraxc

        Personally, I don't love 'peel your own' type dishes. Plus, the shrimp shells are great for making a basic fish stock. You can use that to make a fish soup with the shrimp as the main component, or reduce the stock until it concentrates almost to a demi glace state, and use that as a flavoring in your scampi to intensify the shrimp flavor. For more recipes, you could watch Forrest Gump, which had a character who named dozens and dozens of shrimp dishes :)

        1. re: loraxc

          It depends on the dish. When we make bbq shrimp it's shells on as is tradition. Shrimp creole is of course shelled.

        2. You don't need a special tool to peel & devein, a small pair of sharp scissors does the job. Just remove the heads, I'm sure other chowhounds can tell you the best way to do this as I have never bought head-on shrimp. Then, cut the shell along the back with the scissors, stopping at the tail, being careful to not go too deep into the flesh, you just want to expose the vein. At this point you can pretty much pull or scrape out the vein easily. You can also peel them pretty easily now, or leave the shell and tail on. Cooking them in the shell protects the meat and keeps them more flavorful, personally, I like them much better that way. After they are cooked, the shell is easy to remove. However, if you are making them with a sauce, you might want to peel first, just so it's not so messy to eat, although I have no problem licking the sauce off and then peeling! As for the raw shells and heads, you can freeze those until you have enough to make a wonderful shrimp stock. For your frozen ones, hopefully other chowhounds will advise you, I have never had the luxury of just-caught shrimp. Enjoy, I envy you!

          6 Replies
          1. re: jacquelyncoffey

            the heads pinch right off and with a bit of batter and deep-fried are a yummy crunchy snack!

            1. re: jacquelyncoffey

              Is shrimp stock useful for things not made with shrimp?

              1. re: loraxc

                Use in any seafood dish that requires broth.

                Gumbo, risotto, cocktail and burgers are what come immediately to my mind.

              2. re: jacquelyncoffey

                Agreed, I use an extra (new, btw) pair of scissors from the nail grooming section of target, they work like a charm.
                And shrimp stock for risotto is divine!

                1. re: alliegator

                  Yeah, way easier than trying to do that with a knife. You're not pointing sharp things at your hand and fingers, and you won't accidentally go too deep and split them in half.

                2. farmed shrimp has a negative environmental impact in countries where the industry is poorly regulated. if your husband is catching wild shrimp, you should be thrilled! where do you live?

                  i never bother deveining. i do prefer cooking them out of the shell, mostly because they are easier to clean this way. you can cook them in water, stock, beer, wine or water/juice combo. add aromatics like some bay leaves, peppercorns a few cloves of garlic and be generous with salt. bring the liquid to a boil and add the shrimp. once it comes back up to a boil, cover the pan and remove from the heat. once pink, about 2-3 minutes later, they are cooked. you can saute in olive oil, coconut oil or butter. again, be generous with the salt.

                  i don't know why you need to freeze them in salted water? i would spread them on a sheet pan and freeze through, then bag. this way they're not clumped together and you can take out as many you'll need.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: hotoynoodle

                    Yes, they're certainly wild. I live in FL--he's netting them. Farmed shrimp are pretty terrible everywhere by my understanding. Wild American shrimp are better, but there's still a major bycatch problem, so I prefer to avaoid them, too. This is hard, since I love them. So--I'm psyched!

                    I am reading that freezing in water prevents freezer burn. Of course, I don't know how long these puppies will stick around!--but we do hope to really stock the freezer. No deep freeze, more's the pity.

                    If they are pink, can I assume they are done? Is there much risk of UNDER cooking?

                    1. re: loraxc

                      nope, undercooked is perfectly safe. you can do them as ceviche too -- cooked by acid instead of heat.

                      1. re: loraxc

                        Boiled or steamed shrimp are delicious, hot or cold. With the bounty of shrimp that you have, figure out how long YOU like them cooked. I like mine cooked a little more than the "experts" say they should be.

                        Headed and peeled shrimp pan fry very quickly and easily. Just dust them with flour or cornmeal and pan fry in a little oil or butter.

                        Joyce Chen scissors are the best ever peeling de-veining tool.

                        Watch Forrest Gump for additional ideas.