Cooking Shrimp - basic
Shrimp dishes include boiled, gumbo, Etouffee, stew, jambalaya,
baked, grilled, and of course, fried. See
Seafood" for further discussion on Shrimp... I call shrimp the "Prime Rib of
the sea". Shrimp are a very versatile main or side ingredient that
may be served with just about anything.
Shrimp don't take long to cook. Two to four minutes is usually all it
takes depending on the size. The longer it cooks the tougher it gets.
In gravies, if I don't
have shrimp stock I usually throw in a handful of chopped up shrimp to get
a little flavor going then put the remainder in right before the dish is
done. Making your own
shrimp stock is easy to do and really adds the shrimp
flavor to your dishes.
Shrimp Stock - Using the shells of 1 - 2 lbs. of shrimp.
Simply peel the shrimp saving the shells (heads
also if you like) and rinse
them off with water. In a stock pot pour the shells in and add enough
water to cover the shells then another inch or so.. Add a few bay leaves,
1 onion quartered, 2 toes whole peeled garlic, a few slices of lemon and 2 stalks of celery
chopped large. Boil for about an hour and cook on a low heat until reduced
by 1/3. Strain and discard shells and vegetables. I've seen recipes with
more ingredients but I just want the shrimp flavor with a basic stock
body. Shrimp stock can have a strong flavor so be careful when using
You can also add a small handful of dried shrimp to stews and
other sauce dishes to increase the shrimp flavor.
Another hint when cooking shrimp in a gravy dish is to
let it rest off of the fire about an hour before it is eaten. The extra
time allows more shrimp flavor to be released and allows the shrimp to
absorb the great seasonings.
Alone, baked, grilled, fried and boiled shrimp are delicious and go well with dipping sauces.
Shrimp can be chopped fine and used in dips.
Chopped shrimp can also be used as a base for stuffings like stuffed
mirlitons, and, can be stuffed themselves.
Here in South La. we make what is called a shrimp boulette
"French for Ball" (we shape them kind of like a
small hamburger patty). It's made with either a bread or potato
base, shrimp, onion and so on, then fried; sort of like a hush puppy.
Dried shrimp... how do they do that? Yesteryears'
process consisted of laying shrimp out on large wooden platforms to
dry in the sun. The shrimp were them gathered and walked on to
knock off the shells. You can make your own dried shrimp by
boiling your own and putting them in a pan in the sun to dry, the
oven is just too hot. Today's process is a little different. Read
You can also find a lot on the history of dried shrimp by doing a
search using ...shrimp drying platforms...
you'll find some very interesting facts, and, read about "Manila Village".
By the way... Manila Village would make a great school report for
your youngsters! The new process is shown in pictures here. Click
Here's a good article on shrimping
in South Louisiana...
There are literally thousands of shrimp dishes made around the world.
The discussion here is limited mostly to South La.
Check out the Methods page also...