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Old 04-15-2005, 03:18 PM   #1
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Shrimp Question...

i read somewhere on this forum that NOT de-veining shrimp b4 cooking it can cause the shrim to have a grainy / sandy texture when eating.

does over-cooking shrimp have this same effect, or can that also be a product of not good quality shrimp??

i ask cause i LOVE shrimp, but am very new to cooking it myself. i am also very paranoid about undercooking it (i got food poisoined off undercooked scallops once..it was NOT fun! ), so i tend to overcook things for safety until i am more comfortable with it as an ingredient.

dumb questions #2: if i get 20 large tiger shrimp, and most of them have veins..does that mean that ALL of them have veins?? i could swear in about 5 of them, that there werent any!!

thank you and happy friday everyone!!!

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Old 04-15-2005, 03:34 PM   #2
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Ok...The veins are the digestive tract in shrimp......depending on when the shrimp last ate before they died will determine how full the vein is. So, yes, it CAN make it grainy And ALL shrimp have veins. Removing the vein is a matter of choice........whether or not you want to eat a digestive tract. Personally I remove them.

Over-cooking will make shrimp "rubbery". Still edible of course, but the texture will suffer.

Hope this helped!
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Old 04-15-2005, 04:27 PM   #3
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Don't "overcook" seafood...

Some information I received from a fairly good cook/chef that helped me early on when I was overcooking my shrimp, prawns, scampi, ... was to practice the "C" and "O" rule.

That is to say, when you're cooking shrimp, be it boiling, sauteing in garlic/olive oil/butter, bbq grilling or whatever, your shrimp will start to turn "pink" and begin to curl up.

Cook them until they just form a "C"... if they form an "O", they will be overcooked.

And, BTW.. I almost live exclusively on seafood here in Seattle when I get a chance (not shrimp though.. we only have those little salad shrimp) and, while I have no idea what caused your illness from your "undercooked" scallops, there's a very good chance (99%? chance) that what made you sick would NOT have been killed by cooking them more... there are various "things" that can get into shellfish that can't be killed by cooking... well cremation might work but that wouldn't be "good eats"

And it's rare to find those "things" in your seafood IF you're buying from a reputable fish monger or dealer or whatever source... so I'd be inclined to play the odds and not turn your seafood into rubber by overcooking.. and just enjoy.
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Old 04-15-2005, 06:19 PM   #4
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Big shrimps will make ya sicker than small shrimps. I have been sick twice from shrimp....I think about it evertime I eat them so it kind of ruins the experience. I will never eat raw oysters. I never order shrimp in a restaurant. Well almost never.
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Old 04-15-2005, 07:02 PM   #5
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Bang - lol, 'big shrimps will make you sicker than small shrimp'??? I guess 'cause there's more room for the bacteria to live, but that's the only reason I can see!


Living in Charleston, where 'swimps' rule, it really just depends on the person cooking the shrimp whether they get deveined or not. My rule of thumb is if the shrimp is in a dish with lots of other things - say a stir fry - and they're pretty small shrimp, I don't devein. But if I'm doing nice big shrimp for a cocktail, then I do take the veins out.

This is a tried and true boiled shrimp recipe -

Bring a pot of water to the boil; add a cut up lemon, a bay leaf and lots of Old Bay seasoning to the pot; let that simmer for 10-15 minutes. Bring back to a boil, add the shrimp to the pot; when it comes back to a boil, turn the heat off. As soon as all of the shrimp are all pink, they're done! Drain and enjoy!
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Old 04-15-2005, 07:40 PM   #6
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Hi Mugsy, agree with Topaz, all shrimp have intestines; it is only when they are filled with plankton remains that they become obvious.

I suppose they are referred to as 'veins' because it sounds more genteel than the 'poop tube'. And you may not always notice them because when they are empty they can be a bit difficult to find.

Usually buy the largest shrimp I can because there is little more boring than shelling and removing the veins from two to three pounds of 'medium' shrimp.

And like Topaz, I prefer to remove them.

But if I go to a shrimp boil, where the shrimp are served in the shell without removal of the vein, will either peel and eat with the vein, or when I get too bored with shelling will eat them with the shell on.

Oh yes, and lobsters have a much larger one just under the back, but I find they are usually not filled. I suppose most people just eat them.

If one eats whole clams or oysters, or snails for that matter, one is eating the whole mess, gastrointestinal tract and all.

Yet I love the stuff. Particularly the Ipswich clams with the big fat green bellies, fried or steamed.

I guess each of us has to establish his/her own yuck factor.

But remove the vein or not, shrimp are so much tastier when cooked properly.
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Old 04-15-2005, 07:59 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mugsy27
i read somewhere on this forum that NOT de-veining shrimp b4 cooking it can cause the shrim to have a grainy / sandy texture when eating.
The digestive tract of shrimps run along the back ... how muddy and grainy they are depends on their size, where they are from, the season, and how long since the last time they ate.

Quote:
Does over-cooking shrimp have this same effect, or can that also be a product of not good quality shrimp??
No. Over-cooking "good" shrimp causes them to get tough or rubbery. If they have been held at too high a temp for a period of time, or been treated with (humm .. what is that stuff that keeps them looking pristine - same stuff they use for scallops ... can't remember now ....) they could get mushy and "dissolve".

Quote:
i ask cause i LOVE shrimp, but am very new to cooking it myself. i am also very paranoid about undercooking it (i got food poisoined off undercooked scallops once..it was NOT fun! ), so i tend to overcook things for safety until i am more comfortable with it as an ingredient.
Shrimp/lobster/crawfish/crab and scallops/mussles/clams/oysters are different types of creatures. But, they do have seasons when they are safer to eat than others .... and it depends on where they come from. Overcooking will cause all of them to get tough and rubbery.

Quote:
dumb questions #2: if i get 20 large tiger shrimp, and most of them have veins..does that mean that ALL of them have veins?? i could swear in about 5 of them, that there werent any!!
All shrimp have a digestive "vein" running down their back. How pronounced it is depends on the length of time since they last ate before they were caught.
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Old 04-22-2005, 07:46 PM   #8
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thanx for all the input guyz!! u ALL rock!!

im about to make a shrimp dish and have 1 last dumb question...

while i was de-shelling and de-veining the shrimp..the tail part of the shell came off a few of the shrimp..so i just cut the last 1/8 inch off the shrimp to get what ever funky-ness the tail shell covers, off.

should i throw out these tail-less shrimp (for consistensy while cooking purposes), or just dump em in with the rest?!?
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Old 04-22-2005, 09:49 PM   #9
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There is very-very-very little, if any, of the digestive system in that last little portion of the shrimp covered by the tail.

Some Chefs, and some other people, for some unknown to me reason, like to leave the tails on. I find that to be a great annoyance, personally.

Naw, just because the tail fell off is no reason to toss 'em! Even if you were cooking 20-lbs of shrimps ... some with tails and some without wouldn't make any difference in consistency of cooking.
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Old 04-23-2005, 01:28 AM   #10
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I use a simple rule of thumb about whether tails are on or off. It they are for finger food then they are on, if cooked into a pasta or other dish then off. I like a handle ;)

Another easy rule of thimb for telling when grilled shelled shrimp is done. When the flesh turns from blue or clear to white or opaque its ready to plate.

As far as under cooked seafood is concerned I SCUBA dive off No. California often and have learned that the finest tasting scallops on earth are popped from a rock and eaten on the spot. I would think that the supplier or the restaurant blew it and not so much a parasite.

I'm a perfectionest about freshness, I thaw shrimp at the end of the shift in a walk-in and use them the next 2 days, never any longer. and they never come out of the fridg or off ice until they are cooked. I think it makes a sweeter, fresher tasting product.
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