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How to Select and Prepare Shrimp

Shrimp

Never overcook shrimp. An easy way thing to remember when cooking shrimp is to use the "C-O Method". When boiled or steamed, shrimp are cooked when they curl to form the letter "C". Shrimp are overcooked when they curl to form the letter "O". Over-cooked shrimp are tough and rubbery.

Here is a guideline to help you choose which variety to buy:

Tiger Shrimp - Mild flavor, with a sweet taste and a crunchy texture.

White Shrimp - Mild flavor, with a slightly salty, shrimpy taste and firm texture. Great for salads and stir-fry.

Pink Shrimp - Mild to medium flavor, with a medium texture. Perfect for shrimp cocktail.

Brown Shrimp - Full, robust flavor, with medium texture. Best when used for full-flavor dishes like gumbo or for frying.

Deep-Fry Shrimp

Preheat (canola, vegetable or peanut) oil to 375 degrees F. Carefully place a small amount of breaded or battered shrimp in cooker. Fry shrimp 2 to 3 minutes, depending on size of shrimp, until golden brown outside and opaque in the center.

Stir-Fry or Sauté Shrimp

Preheat sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add butter, margarine, olive oil or flavored cooking oil. Any combination may also be used. Carefully place shrimp in pan. Stir-fry large shrimp for 3 to 4 minutes; medium 2-1/2 to 3-1/2 minutes and small/bay 2 to 2-1/2 minutes.

Grill or Broil Shrimp

Skewer peeled shrimp in a "horseshoe" fashion. That is, thread the shrimp onto the skewer at its large base, then at its tail so it curves around in a U-shape. Marinate, if desired. Place 4 inches above a preheated gas grill or charcoal grill at 375 degrees F. To broil, place shrimp 4 inches under a heat source (leave oven slightly open when using an electric range). Grill or broil extra jumbo shrimp for 6 minutes, jumbo for 5 minutes, extra large for 4 minutes and large for 3 minutes. Baste with oil or marinade. Turn once halfway during the cooking process.

Boiled Shrimp

To get the best out of boiled shrimp, add a can of beer to the boiling water. Refrigerate on ice after boiling. Dip cooled shrimp in a tantalizing shrimp sauce made of ketchup and horseradish. How sharp you like it depends on amount of horseradish you add.

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