Gulf Shrimp

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About

Shrimp is one of the most popular types of seafood and is found on menus and in markets around the world. It is versatile and thus is a popular choice with cooks.

Information

Other names: white shrimp, brown shrimp, pink shrimp

Physical Description

When a brown shrimp matures, it is about 4.5" to 6.5".
When a white shrimp matures, it is about 6" to 6.5".
When a pink shrimp matures, it is about 2.9" to 3.3".

The body curves slightly and usually the head has been removed by the time it gets to market. The body is encased in a clear, thin shell and ends with a tail. There are tentacles on the underside.

Colors: brown, white, pink

Tasting Notes

Flavors: sweet
Mouthfeel: Firm but tender

Selecting and Buying

Choosing: Should be firm to the touch and have a clean seafood smell.
Choose size depending on the recipe and/or personal taste preference, such as a large shrimp for stuffing.
Buying: Always ask for wild caught shrimp. It could be fresh if you live right along the coast or flash frozen if you live inland.
In a seafood market, there is often signage stating how many shrimp to the pound depending upon size. This will help you gauge how many pounds to purchase depending upon how many people you are serving.
Procuring: Brown shrimp range along the North Atlantic and US and Mexican coasts from Massachusetts to Campeche, Mexico.
White shrimp range along the North Atlantic and coasts from New York to Campeche, Mexico.
Pink shrimp occur from the lower Chesapeake Bay south to Isla Mujeres, Mexico.
Each species is widely distributed around the Gulf of Mexico, with localized centers of abundance, but no distinct spawning grounds.
Source Texas Parks and Wildlife.

Preparation and Use

See "Cleaning" for preparation. May be used in a variety of ways: boiling, broiling, grilling, barbeque, fried, baked, in soups and gumbos, blackened and the list goes on.
It is important to remember to not over-cook shrimp because they will toughen. If they are part of a soup, gumbo, sauce, then add to the recipe later and only cook until done.
Don't throw away the shells, just rinse, and place in a pot and cover with water and boil for 15 minutes. This a great to use in soups, gumbos, etoufee.

Cleaning: If your recipes calls for the whole shrimp to be cleaned: cut off the head with a knife then using hands pull off the tail by slightly squeezing at the top of the tail and then pulling, this should leave the meat intact and only remove the tail portion of the shell, next remove the tentacles and the shell surrounding the rest of the body.
Those who have lived along the coasts for generations will differ on whether you devein or not. It is a matter of appearance. If you wish to devein, then with a sharp knife and a delicate touch, run the knife along the black vein just deep enough to have access to the black vein and under running water remove it.

Conserving and Storing

May be frozen.

Social/Political

History: The name derives from the British word "shrimpe" meaning puny and the Swedish word "skrympa" meaning to shrink.

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