How to cook peeled shrimp

For real tank crackers: This is how you prepare shrimp

Too quick pasta, as a soup addition or a fine addition to a salad - the shrimp started its kitchen career as an exquisite delicacy, but can now also be found in down-to-earth cooking pots.

But not all prawns are created equal! A labyrinth of possibilities opens up from shopping to preparation: hot or cold water? Buy prepared or peel yourself? What has to be done, what can be left on? And how long do shrimp have to fry in the pan?

We need a guide, a shrimp guide!

Table of Contents

Prawns, shrimp and prawns - what's the difference?

Gambas, prawns, shrimp and in between a “prawn” in between. What about all the different names? Actually it is quite easy: Shrimp are crustaceans with an elongated body. Unlike crabs, lobsters and lobsters, shrimp do not have claws. In contrast, the frontal horn with small teeth is typical.

Around 350 of over 3000 different species are traded on the food market. "Shrimp" as a German generic term is often split up into:

  • North Sea Crab: The small specimens, which, despite having “crab” in their name, belong to the shrimp, are usually sorted, pre-cooked and chilled until they arrive at the next port directly on board the shrimp cutters.
  • Shrimp: Actually just the English name for shrimp, smaller types of shrimp are often sold under "Shrimp" in Germany.
  • Prawns: Shrimp from 10 cm in length are available as "giant shrimp" or "prawns". Particularly large specimens are called King, Tiger or even Giant Tiger Prawn.
  • Prawns and shrimps: Prawns in Spanish or French.
  • Scampi: Can hardly be distinguished from shrimp when peeled, but actually belong to the lobster family. That's why they're a little more expensive.

What should you look out for when shopping for shrimp?

Anyone who buys shrimp quickly realizes: Quite a lot of options that are offered here. Salt or fresh water? Fresh, frozen or pre-cooked? Wild catch or aquaculture? What does all of this mean and which features speak for quality?

Wild catch vs. aquaculture

A high proportion of the prawns traded come from Aquaculture, i.e. farms in which the crustaceans grow in ponds or tanks. In this way, natural stocks are protected from overfishing. However, depending on the country of origin, the “shrimp farms” do not have a particularly good reputation: tanks that are too full, unsanitary water systems and, as a consequence, too many chemical “aids” to keep the animals healthy. If you want to make sure that no antibiotics and chemicals have been used in shrimp breeding, you should rely on ecologically certified breeding farms. Frozen goods are provided with the appropriate organic seals. For fresh produce, you can simply ask your trusted fishmonger.

Be at sea Wild-caught shrimp caught with trawls and sorted by size. In order to bring them to the market particularly fresh, many fisheries rely on instant flash freezing. The prawns are given a “glaze”, ie a thin layer of ice, which optimally protects them from germs.

Shrimp fishing areas

  • Cold water shrimp: Typical cold-water shrimp come from the seas in the northern hemisphere. The Chilean edged shrimp from the southern Pacific is one of them. Well-known representative of the cold water shrimp: the North Sea crab. It is fished along the European coast and often brought to the man directly from the cutter - it couldn't be fresher.
  • Warm water shrimp: It is at home in warm waters around Southeast Asia or South America and grows faster than its cool relatives. It comes on the market with a length of 10-13 cm as "giant prawn", "king" or "tiger prawn". Even larger specimens with a length of up to 33 cm are offered as “Chinese prawns” or “captain's shrimp”.

In addition to this distinction, there are often references to salt, fresh or brackish water shrimp. Brackish prawns are at home in estuaries, where both salt and fresh water wash around them.

The cold water shrimp in particular is considered a delicacy by shrimp fans. As it needs more time to grow in its cool environment, it develops a delicate, aromatic taste and a steady bite. Warm water prawns are popular because of their size, but they taste less intense.

Tips for buying shrimp

Pay attention to quality: Fresh prawns are peeled and cleaned a real treat.

  • Quality and freshness: Fresh prawns don't smell fishy, ​​just a little salty like the sea. Her eyes shine wet, there are no isolated dark spots on the skin. For frozen goods, make sure that they are completely ice-cream.
  • sustainability: Shrimp from organic farms and MSC-certified (Martha Stewardship Council) fishing farms promise high ecological and social standards.
  • Area of ​​origin: Sweet, salty, warm, cold - depending on where the shrimp was allowed to grow, it has different characteristics. If you're not sure which type of shrimp you have in front of you, take a look at the proof of origin. You can also easily get information about the origin from the dealer.

Natural or ready to cook

Fishmongers often offer you the shrimp whole, that is, with the head, shell and intestines. But you can also buy them already prepared:

  • Without a head, but with a bowel and shell: Shelled shrimp are especially useful when you want to grill or sear the seafood. They stay particularly tender in their shell. With this variant, you only have to remove the intestine, but you can decide for yourself how deep you make the incision.
  • Headless, deveined, but in the shell: Here, too, the big advantage is the protective shell. All other work steps have already been taken off your hands.
  • Headless, deveined and peeled: These ready-to-cook prawns can be thawed directly in the pan or in the saucepan, without any time-consuming peeling.
  • Headless, deveined, peeled and pre-cooked: Prepared in this way, the prawns only have to be briefly warmed up and not fried. All you need is hot water from the kettle and a few minutes to cook.

Prepare the prawns

Peel and clean the prawns - step by step

Peeling is not a must, but you and your guests save yourself and your guests from having to peel at the table.

Preparation steps

First remove the head. The easiest way to do this is by hand: grab the shrimp by the head and loosen it with a slight twist.
Then you can break open the shell on the stomach and pull it off all around. If it is stubborn, you can simply cut the peel open on the belly side with a sharp knife or kitchen scissors. Either remove the shell completely or leave out the last part of the shell with the tip of the tail - this looks chic when served on the plates and the shrimp is easy to touch.
Remove the shrimp intestines. To do this, cut the back lengthways with a sharp knife. Be careful not to cut too deep. With the tip of the knife you can carefully lift the bowel and pull it out.
For most shrimp fans, deveining is an absolute must, as the taste and appearance of the fine seafood are not impaired afterwards. Prawns cooked with intestines can taste a bit bitter. The work step is fiddly and sometimes causes confusion: There is also an elongated strand on the belly of the shrimp, which can look bluish, light or dark. What often goes through as a "slipped" intestine is actually the shrimp's central nerve cord. It is not necessary, but if it bothers you, you can also make a small incision on the belly side and detach it. Finally, you should clean your prepared shrimp thoroughly under running water and pat dry.

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Season the prawns

A little coarse salt, freshly ground pepper and a splash of lemon - that's all you need to season the shrimp deliciously. Garlic, thyme and rosemary are good for a Mediterranean twist. Or you can give your shrimp an Asian touch with ginger, finely chopped chilies and a little coriander.

Shrimps develop a spicy aroma in a garlic and coriander marinade.

Depending on how you cook the shrimp, you can use them Season before or after heating. Especially Marinades give them an intense, full taste. Simply put the prawns in oil, herbs, and a few spices overnight insert and let it steep.

Small breading line for the shrimp: first starch, then egg white and finally fine coconut flakes.

Or try a spicy one Breading out. Simply mix starch with salt and pepper. Roll the peeled prawns first in a starch mix, then in egg white and finally in coconut flakes or breadcrumbs. Fry them until golden brown or fry them briefly and put them on the plates.

Prepare prawns: nothing has to be done, everything is possible

Unpeeled prawns discolor when seared and then glow a rich orange.

The seafood can be prepared in different ways. In sushi quality, you can even eat them raw if they have been thoroughly cleaned beforehand. But shrimp are also delicious when grilled, fried, boiled or deep-fried.

The following applies to almost all cooking methods: less is more. Depending on their size, shrimp, prawns and the like usually only take a few minutes. Overcooked meat crumbles or becomes rubbery and tough.

  • Cooking shrimp: Bring the salted water to the boil, add the prawns and reduce the heat to medium. After about 2-3 minutes the meat is light pink and tender.
  • Fry or grill prawns: Shrimp stay particularly juicy if you sear them in the shell or put them on the grill. 2-3 minutes from each side and they shine in a rich orange or pink. You either bring them to the table like that or do some work for your guests and peel them off. Of course, you can also toss prawns into the pan without their shell. Reduce the cooking time by about 30 seconds per side.
  • In the wok: Popular in combination with crunchy vegetables and a few soba noodles - the prawns from the wok. Thanks to the special pan shape, the sea creatures are seared on the bottom and kept warm on the edge at moderate temperatures.
  • Steam prawns: With a steamer attachment or steamer basket, you can prepare shrimp in a particularly gentle and calorie-conscious manner. Depending on the size of the shrimp, 5 to 10 minutes are enough to cook them through.
  • Bake shrimp: The shrimp take the longest in the oven at around 10-15 minutes, but they get crispy without a lot of fat. Depending on the recipe, 200 to 230 ° C is sufficient. Simply brush the prawns with a little oil, season and bake in the oven.
  • Fry prawns: And finally, a special treat - the fried shrimp. It is cooked in hot oil after around 30 seconds and can be fished out with a skimmer.

Storing shrimp: how long do shrimp stay fresh?

It is best to process fresh shrimp on the same day. in the They can be kept in the refrigerator for a maximum of 2 days, after that the protein begins to break down and go bad. Frozen food can be kept in the freezer for a few weeks, but has to be thawed before preparation.

Thaw the prawns

Depending on the size, shrimp take about 3-6 hours to thaw in the refrigerator. First, rinse off the ice cream under cold running water. Then put the prawns in a sieve so that they do not lie in their own defrost water later. Hang the strainer in a bowl and let the shrimp thaw completely in the refrigerator. By the way: Shrimp should not be frozen again once they have been thawed! Quality, freshness and taste suffer as a result.

What are the nutritional values ​​in the shrimp?

A lot of protein, hardly any fat - that's what makes the little shrimp so popular not only among gourmets, but also fitness foodies. With a protein content of around 18%, prawns provide your body with plenty of building material for your brain and muscles and barely hit you 90 kcal per 100 grams on.

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