I am a very lucky woman. My father in law, who is a consultant for his day job, also owns a shrimp boat, not for commercial purposes, but purely for leisure (though there isn't much leisure involved with shrimping) and for the ability to get out on the Gulf, amidst the seagulls and the fish, and catch shrimp. In fact, that shrimp boat was the only thing and I mean the ONLY thing belonging to my in-laws that survived Hurricane Katrina.
They lived right on a bay that comes off the Gulf and when Katrina came through, they lost everything. I mean literally every single thing they owned. Except for a couple of steps to nowhere, there wasn't a trace of their house or of any of their possessions to be found. Not a single stick of furniture or anything ... but up the road a couple blocks and stuck between a stop sign and some trees, there sat dad's shrimp boat with only minor damage.
Anyway, at the start of every shrimp season in the Gulf of Mexico, dad, my brother in law, and The Cajun go out on the boat in hopes of bringing home a nice catch. In exchange for my husband's strong back, we get fresh Gulf shrimp. This year dad was overseas but The Cajun and his brother got permission to take the boat out and I was the recipient of not one, but two large coolers filled to the brim with shrimp. I did give a good bit away, to my son, friends, neighbors, heck, even the ex-husband - though I did let my son take credit for giving them to him. It sure is wonderful to have fresh Gulf shrimp put up in the freezer.
While I'm on the subject ... for those of you in the U.S. of A., if it is at ALL possible for you to choose Wild American Shrimp, or Fresh Gulf Shrimp over those imported from some Asian country, PLEASE for all that is holy consider buying American and help our country's fishermen. They are struggling because of these imports - and trust me, if you knew how those imports were treated chemically, you'd never purchase another bag of frozen foreign seafood. Not only are the Wild American and Gulf Fresh shrimp much better quality and fresher, they taste better and you are supporting fishermen and women in this great country and not some foreign country where heaven knows what their standards are anyway. The American ones will be labeled - just look for it to say product of the U.S. Thank you for your support... tucking away the soapbox.
One of my most favorite gadgets has become a shrimp peeler. It sure does come in handy for when you are cooking with fresh shrimp and although I was a skeptic at first, it really does speed up the job and make it much easier. Look how nicely it peels away the shell, while removing the vein at the same time.
Now this one down there in the picture, I think either my hubby picked it up on one of his shopping jaunts, or else I acquired it following the separation of "that other relationship" - I truly do not know. All I know for sure is that I did not buy it, and frankly I owned it FOREVER before I actually used it.
I was used to simply hand peeling and then carefully using a paring knife to cut along the back of the shrimp to devein it. Then one day I decided to give this odd thing that had been hanging out in my drawer a try. I never knew! If you can't find one anywhere near you, Amazon has a shrimp peeler that is pretty darned close. (I am an Amazon junkie in case you didn't notice) Unlike many things that clutter up our kitchen space, this is one of those gadgets you'll find yourself reaching for time and time again if you're accustomed to cooking with fresh shrimp. Grab one for your kitchen too!
One unsuspecting beheaded shrimp and the tool of brilliance.
Insert the pointy part of the tool into the back of the shrimp at the head and gently slide it close along the shell toward the back of the tail, pulling in an upward motion as you go.
As you see, the shell separates while at the same time pulling along the vein. Pinch away the tail and the vein generally comes along for the ride. Discard.
Easy peasy, and, behold the masterpiece!
Unpaid product review/endorsement