Everything You Need To Know About Shrimp

 

Honey Garlic Korean Grilled Shrimp (link below)

 

We are in the full sun of summertime and the shrimp is hopping onto skewers or into the poaching pot. It’s the ideal summer bite! Easy to cook, served hot or cold, and goes with everything! You really can’t go wrong with shrimp. Or can you…

 

When it comes to choosing the shrimp, we like to use wild Gulf shrimp, or even better, from an “eat local” perspective, farmed Ontario Pacific White Shrimp; shrimp from Southeast Asia doesn’t exactly have the best reputation these days, both from an ecological and humanitarian standpoint. And if we’re just talking taste – the shrimp coming out of Ontario right now is phenomenal – so sweet and delicious. If you haven’t tried it yet, drop everything and go pick some up right now!

Try this recipe for the Honey Garlic Korean Grilled Shrimp pictured above. It is incredible!

Choose large to extra-large shrimp, you will usually want 10-12 shrimp per person depending on their size. That might seem like a lot but honey – it’s shrimp, you need to load up!

When trying to figure out size, shrimp are graded according to the number per pound; if the pound has 31-35 shrimp they are classified as large, extra large has a count of 26-30 and so on.

 

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The shrimp will usually have their shells on, and possibly the heads and tails too. You will want to remove the head and shell, but most cooks leave the tails on as the shrimp are easier pick up if you grab them by the tail. When you remove the heads and tails, put them in a ziplock bag and freeze for the next time you are making a shrimp or shellfish stock for bouillabaisse or chowder.

Finally, you will want to devein the shrimp; that little dark line that runs along its back is its intestinal tract and is full of waste you would rather not eat. Fortunately it is extremely easy to devein shrimp. 

One of my favourite recipes for shrimp, which is fantastic year round is gambas al ajilo. This one pot meal is a marvel; plump, tender shrimp, fresh pungent garlic, hot chile pepper and premium quality extra virgin olive oil combine magically to make a dish that is greater than the sum of these simple parts. As is the case with recipes with only a few ingredients, the key is to use the best stuff you can get your hands on, and to avoid the temptation to overdo it.Cooking the shrimp should only take a few minutes, and if in doubt, just eyeball it; the shrimp will turn from their natural grey colour to white and pink, and they will curl up on themselves. Don’t cook them for too long or the shrimp will be tough, and your garlic and chile pepper will start to become bitter and burn. Chopped jalapeno peppers work well, but you could always opt for a hotter pepper if you prefer.

 

add the garlic and chile and you're good to go!

add the garlic and chile and you’re good to go!

 

When serving, place a trivet on the table so you can bring the whole frying pan right to the table while it is still sizzling; just make sure you have lots of crusty bread for dipping or you might have a small riot on your hands!

Gambas Al Ajillo

Serves two

20 extra large shrimp

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

2 cloves garlic, chopped fine

1 small hot pepper, chopped fine

salt and pepper

Shell and devein the shrimp. Put the oil in a cast iron frying pan and heat to medium high. Place the shrimp in the pan and arrange so they all lie flat. Let them cook for about two minutes or until they start to turn pink and curl a bit. Turn the shrimp over and add the garlic and hot pepper, shaking the pan a little to evenly distribute it. Let it cook about a minute longer then remove from heat. Sprinkle with sea salt and grind a little black pepper and serve immediately.

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