Cooking Louisiana  -  Cooking Shrimp
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 fresh 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, one onion quartered, two cloves whole peeled garlic, a few slices of lemon and two 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 it.

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 Mirletons, 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. 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. and the Gulf coast.

Bon' Appetite'