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You probably like them grilled, in tantalizing starters, fish soups, satisfying first courses or simply eaten raw: we are talking about one of the most delicious types of shellfish, shrimps, which must, however, be properly cleaned before consumption. So, how to peel and devein shrimps or langoustines? We have sought advice from the Pescheria da Claudio providing us with some useful tips on how to buy fresh shrimps and clean them, explained in a few simple steps.
First of all, how do shrimps differ from other shellfish? Shrimps have an elongated orangey pink body, covered with a tough shell and long, fairly slim claws.
FRESH SHRIMPS AND LANGOUSTINES: HOW TO SPOT THEM
For indications of freshness observe the external appearance of the shrimps and pay attention, of course, to their smell:
- They must look shiny and have eyes that are still black and bulging
- Fresh shrimps are of an evenly pink colour; a black head or the presence of any marks are not good signs
- The head of a fresh product will be intact: if slightly misshapen, it has probably been frozen and thawed out
- There are different qualities of shrimps: those fished in the Mediterranean are generally very clean whilst the Atlantic ocean is dirtier owing to the presence of marine mucilage.
- The smell says everything: fresh shrimps still smell of the sea. If you are in any way aware of an ammonia-like, don’t buy them.
HOW TO CLEAN SHRIMPS
To clean shrimps effectively and quickly, we also need to know how we intend to serve them: raw or cooked. If you choose to steam them, for instance, it will be easier to clean them once cooked when the flesh is more compact. If, on the other hand, you intend to serve them raw, you must first reduce their temperature in the freezer for a few days.
- Using a knife or a pair of scissors, make a slit along the belly side of the shell, eliminating the legs underneath.
- Leave the head and claws attached, particularly if you want to present a more spectacular looking dish. If you do decide to cut them off, they can be used for making delicious fish stock or fish soup.
- Then remove the shell from the tail, make a cut in the back and remove the vein. They are now ready for eating raw.
HOW TO STORE SHRIMPS
If you wish to freeze your shrimps, make sure they are well covered to avoid the risk of "freezer burn". It is also preferable to leave the shell on to prevent the flesh from becoming excessively dry.
Text photos: ©Fine Dining Lovers