Characteristics

1. Shrimp are small crustaceans that look somewhat like tiny, clawless lobsters. Only the tail is marketed and eaten, as a rule.

2. Shrimp come in many varieties, depending on where they are caught, but the particular variety is usually of little importance to the cook.

3. Shrimp are classified by count per pound—the higher the count, the smaller the shrimp. (For example, 16/20 means 16 to 20 per pound.) Classification systems differ by market.That is, in different markets a given size shrimp may have different names.

4. Large shrimp are more expensive per pound, but they require less work to peel and devein.

5. Yield: 1 lb raw shrimp (tails) in the shell yield about x/i lb peeled, cooked shrimp (500 g raw yields 250 g peeled, cooked).

6. The term prawn is sometimes used for large shrimp, sometimes for langoustines (see above). Use of the term varies from region to region.

Figure 14.14

Peeling and deveining shrimp.

Figure 14.14

Peeling and deveining shrimp.

(a) Pull off the legs with your forefinger.
(b) Peel back the shell as shown and remove.
(c) For deep-fried and broiled shrimp, leave on the tail section of the shell for appearance. This also gives you something to hold when dipping the shrimp in batter.
(d) For most other preparations, remove the tail section of the shell.
(e) With a paring knife, make a shallow cut down the back of the shrimp and pull out the intestinal vein, which is just below the surface.

(f) To butterfly shrimp, make the cut in step (e) deeper so the shrimp can be spread open as shown.

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