If you are not used to working with seafood, you may not be sure how to do everything you may want to try. For example, marinating adds lots of flavor to almost any food, shrimp included. You may have found yourself wondering, “How do I marinate shrimp?” Well, you are right to be a little concerned about marinating shrimp. Unlike beef or pork, shrimp is very delicate. You want to choose your marinade ingredients carefully and do not marinate the shrimp until shortly before you want to cook it.
Prepare Your Shrimp
Buy your shrimp. It should be fresh or frozen. Unless you like chewy shrimp, do not buy pre-cooked. If frozen, you will need to let it defrost first. Always defrost using safe techniques like letting the shrimp sit in the refrigerator or by placing it in a bowl of water.
Once the shrimp are ready, peel off the shells. You can discard them or set them aside to make fish stock with later. Hold the shrimp by the tail and start peeling by grasping the legs and pulling them off. You should be able to easily peel off the shell. Leave the tails on if you wish for presentation.
Devein the shrimp. Take a small paring knife and make a shallow cut down the outer curve of the shrimp. You should see the dark colored intestine. Using the tip of your knife, gently lift it out and remove it. It helps to have running water or a bowl of water to rinse it off your knife or your fingers; they tend to stick. Repeat with all the shrimp.
Drain any water that has settled in the bowl with the shrimp and pat them dry so there is no excess water on them. Cover your shrimp and keep them in the refrigerator until you are ready to marinate.
When to Marinate – How do I Marinate Shrimp Properly
Shrimp are very delicate. Any marinade with acidic ingredients will start to cook and break down the shrimp. Acidic ingredients include citrus juices (lemon, lime, orange and so on), vinegar, and wine. These ingredients can also add a lot of flavor to your shrimp. Any marinade with acidic ingredients should not be on the shrimp any longer than 30 minutes before cooking. This is plenty of time for the flavors to infuse the shrimp without making it mushy.
If you are using a marinade that does not contain any acidic ingredients, you can marinate for longer periods of time. Some people will raise the time for marinating to an hour in this case, while others will go a full 24 hours. Be cautious with this, however; shrimp is delicate and it does not take much for it to start to turn soft.
Add your shrimp to the marinade after you mix it up. Cover it again and let it sit in the refrigerator until you are ready to cook. Preheat your pan, oven, or grill. Set the shrimp in the cooking vessel you will be using and let them cook. Remember that shrimp only takes a few minutes, so do not overcook them. Depending on your marinade, it may be harder to tell when the shrimp is opaque. Marinades that color the shrimp can make it so you cannot see the meat very well. You may need to take one out and cut into it to test for doneness.
Picture, recipes and/or content upgraded: 01-22-16
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