Peeling and Deveining Shrimp

Peeling and Deveining Shrimp

Whenever I can, I buy either fresh or frozen shrimp that are raw, peeled, deveined, and with the tail on. For some recipes, it is necessary to leave the shell on, but then the eater has to cope with the shells. If you have enough beer, it can be messy and fun to peel and eat the shrimp, but usually I would rather avoid the effort and the mess.

To peel the shrimp (if frozen, they must be thawed) use kitchen shears or small scissors to cut the shell up the back toward the tail, stopping a couple of segments before you get to the tail. That’s assuming you want to leave the tail on as a handle.

However, if you are going to chop up the shrimp for a sandwich or taco, go on snipping toward the tail until you run out of meat; then snip off the tail.

In either case, after cutting the shell, peel the shell segments off. Now make a slit down the back of the shrimp with a small knife, and see if there is a vein exposed. It may be white, brown, or black. Pry under it with the tip of the knife and pull it out.

Rinse the shrimp, pat it dry, and it’s ready for whatever the recipe calls for next. For example, the photo above shows Shrimp San Diego, a delicious way to prepare shrimp.

If you want to butterfly the shrimp, just cut them most of the way through lengthwise and flatten them out. Many times fried shrimp calls for butterflying, since you get more batter and flavor that way.

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