Updated Tuesday, February 8th, 2005
Yield: 4 servings
SHRIMP, THE MOST popular of all shellfish, can be purchased fresh or frozen, raw or cooked, peeled or unpeeled. But hands down, the taste of fresh shrimp cooked in their own shells just can't be beat–there's a lot of flavor packed within those peels. Served in a simple tangy sauce, they make a delicious dinner in about 10 minutes.
I'm someone who enjoys the slightly messy task of peeling at the table. It saves prep time, and the meat just seems a bit fresher. You can't help but enjoy your food more after you've worked so hard for just one little bite. Simply cover your table with newspapers, and use lots of paper towels for napkins.
If someone in the family is squeamish, or if you're entertaining, you can always peel the shrimp before cooking. It takes away some of the fun and increases your prep time, but it is a little more elegant.
Deveining (removing the digestive tract that runs along the dorsal side of the shrimp) isn't necessary when you're cooking small or medium shrimp, and it's especially unnecessary for shell-on shrimp. As long as you don't overcook the meat, it will be delicious. Raw shrimp usually cook in two or three minutes, depending on their size. As soon as they turn pink, they are done.
To complete the meal, toss a green salad and serve with crusty French rolls to soak up the delicious pan juices.
-- Judy Feagin
*If you don't want the spiciness of the dried crushed red pepper, you can substitute 1-1/2 teaspoons Italian seasoning and 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper.
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