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      ARTICLE TITLE " How to Peel Shrimp"
    excerpted from New Orleans Seafood Cookbook Copyright ©  1999 by by Andrew Jaeger. All rights reserved.

    Peeling shrimp is probably the easiest thing in the bag of tricks required to eat New Orleans seafood, perhaps because so many people have peeled at least one shrimp sometime in their lives. So, let's start here.

    Boiled or raw, shrimp require only the most basic flirtation to get them out of their clothes. We respect that attitude here in New Orleans. The standard method for peeling shrimp involves holding the shrimp in one hand and using the other hand to twist off the head and all of the various whiskers. This leaves the body with a whole bunch of little legs holding the shell together at the bottom. Remove these legs and the shell enclosing the body like a horse's blanket is ready to come off. Once the shell is removed, the tail can easily be twisted off. But don't let too much of the tail meat get away.

    As we describe in our look at a New Orleans seafood boil (pages 26-27 and 29), the primary advantage of peeling shrimp once they're boiled is that it leaves all but your fingers free to enjoy the important things in life: family, music, and beer. Practice can really improve your speed so that you will have a definite Darwinian advantage in any newspaper-lined New Orleans feeding frenzy.

    Peeling raw shrimp will strike most first-timers as both harder and messier than peeling boiled shrimp, but it's not. Use the same method as for peeling boiled shrimp. The only difference is the shrimp meat will be greenish brown rather than a lovely reddish orange, and the various juices are less appetizing. But hey, you're not peeling raw shrimp for good looks, you're peeling them for good food.

    Finally, there are traditions surrounding what to discard and when to discard it. I know cookbooks all over America devein all shrimp as a matter of course. In New Orleans we see nothing wrong with the dark little line that runs along the back of a shrimp and generally don't bother deveining much of anything. The only real exceptions to this rule are jumbo shrimp, which cook best butterflied anyway.

    The other discardable part of a shrimp is the head, but generations of cooks have warned us not to be hasty. The head of a shrimp (like the head of a crawfish) carries an immense amount of flavor, probably more than any other part of the creature. If you're boiling shrimp and can get your hands on whole ones, don't get rid of the heads until after the boil—the boiling water will become a spicy, shrimpy treasure! And if you're making anything resembling our New Orleans Barbecued Shrimp (page 40), do sauté these babies with the heads on. Once again, the fat will infuse the buttery sauce with goodness you can never get from a shrimp that has lost its head.

    HOT! We recommend:

    New Orleans Seafood Cookbook New Orleans Seafood Cookbook
    It's impossible to think about New Orleans cuisine without thinking seafood-soft-shelled crab, catfish, swordfish, oysters, shrimp, speckled trout, snapper, blue crab. And even shark. And it's impossible for anyone in New Orleans to think about seafood without thinking of Andrew Jaeger, third-generation seafood chef and proprietor of the famous French Quarter Restaurant, Jaeger's. This book presents some 125 of his best-loved recipes, lavishly illustrated with full-color photos. It's all you need to have your own personal Mardi Gras. Andrew Jaeger grew up over the New Orleans seafood restaurant his family ran for 45 years, and he is chef/owner of two locations of Andrew Jaeger's Restaurant.
    Emeril's Potluck Emeril's Potluck
    Famous television personality, chef, and restaurateur Emeril Lagasse has long since established himnself as a household name. In what will be his seventh book, Emeril presents a collection of 147 recipes for all kinds of potluck gatherings from tailgates to family parties. Everyone will be heading back for seconds and thirds of these dishes and drinks like Classic Blue Cheese Dip, Cowboy Chicken Casserole, Champagne Punch, and Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie. So be the host with the most and prepare several dishes, or be the best guest and bring just one--either way, everyone is sure to eat up everything from Emeril's Potluck.
    From Emeril's Kitchens From Emeril's Kitchens
    Emeril Lagasse, America's favorite chef, has gathered 150 of the most popular, most requested recipes from six of his restaurants, and has included two dozen new personal favorites as well. If you are one of the many fans who have enjoyed a memorable meal at one of Emeril's restaurants or tuned into his television cooking shows, and want to share that extraordinary experience with friends and family,From Emeril's Kitchens is the book for you. From Emeril's New Orleans, try your hand at the Home-Smoked Salmon Cheesecake or the Barbecued Shrimp with Rosemary Biscuits. NOLA in the French Quarter is known for the Cedar-Planked Fish with Citrus Horseradish Crust and Citrus Butter Sauce and the over-the-top dessert Chicory Coffee Crème Brûlées with Brown Sugar Shortbread Cookies. Entertain at weekend brunch as they do at Emeril's Delmonico and make the elegant Poached Eggs Erato or Souffléd Spinach and Brie Crêpes. Explore the tropics with dishes from Emeril's Orlando such as the Poached Grouper with Mango Salsa, Smashed Avocado, Coconut-Cilantro Rice Pilaf, Black Bean Sauce, and Tortilla Chips. Looking for a true steak house experience? The Seared Beef Tournedos with Herb-Roasted Potatoes and Sauce au Poivre from Delmonico Steakhouse in Las Vegas are just the ticket. Seafood lovers can dig into Poached Oysters in Herbsaint Cream or the Spiny Lobster-Tomato Saffron Stew with Shaved Artichoke and Olive Salad from Emeril's New Orleans Fish House. So, spread the food of love and kick up your kitchen another notch with From Emeril's Kitchens!


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