Have you ever bought shrimp for a recipe and come across this unappetizing scene? Yep, me too. I’m not the biggest fan of buying shrimp that has not already been peeled and deveined. I like to know that some of the dirty work has been done for me! But sometimes buying a pound or two of peeled, deveined shrimp can be a bit pricy. So this is where I draw a compromise. I buy the frozen shrimp that has the heads cut off but the tail still on. It is mostly deveined, and by MOSTLY deveined I mean there is still some residual black goop I have to clean out. This black goop is actually the shrimp’s digestive tract. It’s whatever little shrimpy boy was eating before he got scooped up for my dinner. Can we just call it what it is? It’s shrimp poop! I don’t want to eat shrimp poop and I’m sure you don’t want to either, so here is a quick way to clean up your crustaceans before cooking them to perfection.
Grab the shrimp by the tail with the leg side down.
Pinching the tail and back legs together, squeeze the meat out of the tail until you see the guts come out. Use your other hand to secure the shrimp meat, letting the first hand do the work. Move your fingers down the body, grabbing the legs as you pull the skin away. Don’t rip the tail off just yet, try to keep the body in one unit. It should pull away smoothly.
If you are gentle and take your time, you can get it off in one piece. I like to pull it off altogether so that I am not searching for shrimpy body parts.
Flip the shrimp over and you’ll see the vein. Some shrimp eat more than others so some may be empty and others full!
Run it under the water.
I recommend separating the meat from the body. You can pat the shrimp dry to remove any excess water from the washing process that might alter the taste of a recipe. You can also use the skins to make a seafood broth or put into a compost pile. Now you have nice clean crustaceans that are sure to make that shrimp fried rice or lemony shrimp orzo taste extra fresh!
Do you have any special recipes for shrimp or techniques you prefer? I’d love to hear!