We love its flesh with such delicate marine flavors, we like to crunch it quickly (shrimp is always welcome) it could not be better: landing from the four corners of the world, we find it all year round! Shrimp consumption has exploded: in 20 years, production has multiplied by 9. In the world, about 4 million tons of shrimp are consumed, that is to say +300% per year!
Is it its appetizing color, slender body, crunchy and iodized flesh that explains the love rating of shrimp? Or is it the current craze for exotic gastronomy that puts it in the spotlight?
The fact is, in order to satisfy a growing demand, professionals choose all year round from among the many provenances, calibers and varieties so that the shrimp can be permanently displayed in the stalls of fish shops and frozen food departments.
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The three main shrimp families
The world’s seas are home to more than 160 species of shrimp, which can be divided into two main groups: shrimp from warm waters and shrimp from cold seas. While shrimp are always found near our coasts, such as the small grey “boucaud”, the majority of them live in regions that are, in themselves, a journey. Moreover, from the point of view of size and species, we distinguish three main families.
Its size does not exceed 6 cm. It can be recognized by its greenish grey coloring. The brown shrimp of the English Channel and the Atlantic Ocean is by far the most abundant. Its taste is the finest, although its flesh is less firm than that of the pink shrimp. It is cooked in short stock. It can be enjoyed as an aperitif or on a seafood platter.
The rose shrimp
More commonly called “bouquet” in French, can bloom up to 10 cm. It is recognizable by its shiny gray color, marked with red-brown spots and lines. We can distinguish the classic Breton bouquet and the rose shrimp of the Mediterranean Sea, of superior size, with a flesh as firm and fragrant as the Brittany shrimp. It is also found in the cold seas of Europe. Stronger in taste than the brown shrimp, it also benefits from being eaten cold and plain.
Tropical species of shrimps
They stretch up to 60 cm! Note among them, the “gambas” which now generally designate all shrimp over 10 cm. Because of their size and the good behaviour of their flesh, these species are very appreciated in mixed salads, dishes with sauces, wok cooking, barbecue (plain, marbled or marinated).
Senegal, New Caledonia, Brazil: shrimps make a long trip
The 2% annual increase in its consumption and the increasing scarcity of wild species explain why the origin of shrimp is becoming more international and why aquaculture is developing on a large scale. Senegal and Guyana remain traditional producers of prawns. But shrimp from Ecuador, Vietnam, Thailand, Brazil and New Caledonia can also be found.
How to prepare shrimp well?
In the fresh department, the shrimp, whether raw or cooked, should have a shiny, flexible and curved shell, its flesh should be firm, and its head firmly attached to the abdomen. When bought alive, it must of course be stirred.
With the exception of the magnificent Jumbo shrimp, which remains grey when cooked, a brown shrimp is always raw while a pink shrimp is cooked. This is a very practical change of color as it is proof of its correct cooking: as soon as the shrimp changes color, it is cooked to perfection. And it’s quick :
1 to 2 minutes are enough on very high heat for small gray shrimp and bouquets,
2 to 4 minutes for whole medium-sized species,
4 to 5 minutes for whole gambas of more than 12 cm (indicative duration after thawing).
To shell them before cooking (which is preferable for incorporation into a salad, pasta, or to cook them in sauce), separate the head from the tail, then remove the shell. The feather can be left at the end of the tail, for aesthetic reasons and because it helps to judge the cooking process. A piece of advice, do not throw away the carapaces or the uneaten heads. They will be used to prepare a shellfish butter (see our recipes for flavoured butter). They can also be used to flavor a broth.
Here are some recipes. Note that shrimp go well with exotic fruit sauces.
Provençal marinated shrimps grill
For 4 persons :
- 800g of raw whole shrimps from New Caledonia
- 10 g of black tapenade
- 50 g tomato caviar
- ¼ of lemon
- 5 g of pastis
- 10 g of olive oil
- 1 pinch of pepper
Cut the shrimp in half lengthwise. Mix the marinade ingredients and brush each shrimp half with a brush. Then grill them for one minute on each side, under the broiler, a la plancha or in a very hot non-stick pan.
Fresh express shrimp salad
For 4 persons :
- 1 dozen large cooked and peeled shrimp
- 1 can of crab meat (120 g)
- 2 mature lawyers
- 1 pink grapefruit
- 1 granny apple
- 3 tablespoons of sunflower oil
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- salt and pepper
Place peeled and diced avocados in a salad bowl. Add the quartered grapefruit and the apple cut into small cubes with the skin. Mix then add the shrimps and crab. Prepare the vinaigrette, season with pepper and a little salt. Pour over the preparation and mix gently (avocado is fragile!) then divide into verrines. Keep in the refrigerator at least 30 minutes before serving.