TASTE
04/26/2013 09:08 am ET

Don't Be Scared, It's Just Shrimp: How To Clean, Cook And Enjoy

Flickr: ozmafan

Certain ingredients just stress people out. Some people can melt into a puddle over the temperature of a steak (we may or may not have fallen into that category before). Yeast terrifies some of us. For many, the proper cooking and cleaning of seafood gives us the nervous shivers, particularly shrimp.

We love shrimp for their versatility, quick cooking time and fresh, briny flavor. We realized that a lot of people we know, love and want to eat delicious things have been avoiding this lovely ingredient because they don't know how to clean shrimp, how long to cook them, and what to do with the shells afterward. Great news, guys -- we have all those answers for you, right here, in one place. Deep breaths! We're going to do great!

The video below will show you exactly how to peel and clean shrimp super simply. It also provides the single greatest tip for leftover shrimp shells: (spoiler alert) make shrimp butter! We know the voice sounds kind of robotic, but it's worth listening to her. This shrimp robot knows her stuff.

A few quick notes:

  • If you want to keep the shells on while you cook your shrimp, just use a pair of kitchen shears to cut up the back of the shell, then proceed to devein just how she does in the video.
  • If you do cook your shrimp with their shells on, you can still use those shells in shrimp stock afterward!

Okay! Now you have perfectly cleaned shrimp that are ready to be cooked -- but for how long? Here's the great thing about shrimp: depending, of course, on the size of the shrimp you are cooking, and the method by which you are cooking them, usually about two minutes. Yes, two. Sometimes three to four. Rarely more than that. Grilled shrimp can take a bit longer to cook through than other methods, but really once they've started to curl up and have turned pink, they're done. If you cook shrimp until they are brown on the edges and solid as a rock, you have overcooked them. Make shrimp stock with them instead of eating them and move on to plan B.

Need more shrimp recipe ideas? We thought you'd never ask.

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