Whether you buy fresh or frozen or obtain wild or farmed, shrimp are becoming an increasingly sought-after part of the diets of individuals worldwide. As noted by Grand View Research, these decapods garnered $68.4 billion in annual sales globally in 2022. The popularity of shrimp has grown over the years as consumers have adjusted their food preferences away from red meat to fish and shellfish. Indeed, according to data from the National Fisheries Institute (via SeafoodSource), Americans consumed an average of 5.9 pounds of shrimp annually in 2021, making it the most widely consumed type of seafood in the U.S.
All of this is good news for shrimp lovers like me. As a chef, I often serve shrimp to guests at my restaurant. Diners love them, and while they are quick and easy to prepare for even home cooks, there is a perception of elegance and panache associated with shrimp when offered on a restaurant menu. There is also a common belief that shrimp can be overly fishy tasting and rubbery, which suggests a lack of awareness of the best ways to purchase, store, and prepare them.
Luckily, our team of recipe developers here at Daily Meal has plenty of splendid shrimp recipes to share, which help take the guesswork out of cooking them. Whether grilled, fried, sautéed, or ceviche-style, these recipes can accommodate even the most discriminating palate. Read on to discover the versatility and simplicity of this craveable crustacean.
Garlicky Shrimp Scampi
Shrimp scampi is an Americanization of a classic Italian dish traditionally made with a type of crustacean known as scampi. When the recipe migrated to America, the scampi were replaced with more readily available shrimp, and the modern iteration was born. This recipe infuses peeled and deveined shrimp with abundant fresh garlic before dousing it in white wine, lemon juice, and fresh herbs.
The key here is to use fresh garlic, not the stuff you would find in a plastic container. You also want to take great care not to burn the garlic in the butter and oil mixture.
Recipe: Garlicky Shrimp Scampi
Quick And Easy Shrimp Ceviche
While this is not a classic ceviche in that the shrimp are cured in an acid, giving them the illusion of being cooked, it does embody many of the flavors often associated with culinary technique. Precooked shrimp are combined with crunchy vegetables, acidic lime juice, spicy serrano peppers, and creamy avocado for an appetizer that can be served with chips and a margarita.
Use a ripe avocado with relatively dark, irregular skin and a slight amount of give when you press it gently on either side. Be careful not to overmix the ceviche after adding the avocado, which can give this more of a guacamole-like texture.
Recipe: Quick And Easy Shrimp Ceviche
Slider-Style Shrimp Po' Boys
These mini slider-style po' boys take the elements of a classic po' boy and shrink them into delectable pint-sized versions perfect to serve as an appetizer at a party. The key is marinating the shrimp in buttermilk before breading and frying them. Not only will the buttermilk help adhere the breading to the shrimp, but its acidity works to tenderize them, keeping them moist and juicy after they are fried.
Do not skip making your homemade remoulade. While you can purchase a store-bought iteration, what you will likely get will be more akin to a tartar sauce, lacking the heat and acidity this recipe confers.
Recipe: Slider-Style Shrimp Po' Boys
If you are seeking a satiating one-pot meal that'll instantly transport you to New Orleans, this take on a jambalaya is the recipe for you. It fuses multiple proteins, including chicken breasts, Spanish chorizo, and shrimp, brightening them with fresh vegetables and cooking them in spicy Cajun seasoning.
If you do not have a Cajun seasoning mix, make your own. Combine smoked paprika, dried oregano, salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and cayenne pepper. Whatever you do, do not skimp on the cayenne. Authentic jambalaya is supposed to be spicy. Serve this meal with a salad and sweet tea for true Southern comfort.
Recipe: Hearty Jambalaya
Shrimp Pad Thai
This play on a classic pad Thai recipe is loaded with umami-rich flavors embedded in the rich sauce, which gets poured over the shrimp and noodles. If you enjoy spicy food, elevate this sauce further by adding a pinch of gochujang or sambal oelek before using it.
If you are concerned about overcooking the shrimp while scrambling the eggs and sautéing the bean sprouts and tofu, remove them from the pan and set them aside. You can return them at the same time as the noodles and sauce are added. This will infuse them with flavor and keep them from becoming too rubbery.
Recipe: Shrimp Pad Thai
Mediterranean-Inspired Shrimp And Grits
While shrimp and grits are considered quintessentially Southern comfort food, this spin on a classic hearkens back to Mediterranean-style polenta dishes. Though both are made from corn, each is fashioned from different types of corn, giving them a distinctive texture and flavor. This recipe calls for stone-ground grits, which are more toothsome and heartier, but can be made with finer-ground varieties with minor adjustments.
For a milder-flavored, less salty olive, substitute the Kalamatas with a green variety, like a Castelvetrano, which has a smooth, buttery flavor. Just be sure to purchase ones that are already pitted.
Shrimp Cocktail Salad
This tangy, spicy shrimp cocktail calls for medium-sized shrimp that are peeled and deveined. The recipe specifies 51- to 60-count shrimp, which refers to how many shrimp you'll find in a 1-pound bag in terms of size. That said, you could use virtually any size you prefer.
Unless you live where you can guarantee that shrimp are fresh, you are much better off purchasing frozen shrimp and thawing them according to packaging directions as needed. This will benefit you both in the quality of flavor and safety of the shrimp.
Recipe: Shrimp Cocktail Salad
Greek Shrimp And Orzo Salad With Cherry Tomatoes
This hearty spin on a pasta salad uses a lesser-known variety of noodles known as orzo. While orzo looks very similar to rice, it cooks like pasta and has a much more al dente texture, making it ideal for a salad.
Though you could purchase precooked shrimp to save time, if you sauté or grill them yourself, you will get more flavor from this salad. Try seasoning them with a combination of smoked paprika and cumin, or use a spice blend, like ras el hanout. Ensure all the ingredients are cold before topping your lettuce, or it will wilt.
Jerk Shrimp Burger Sliders
These shrimp burger sliders are made with a classic jerk seasoning. Though you can use a store-bought mix, making your own is simple. It consists primarily of cayenne pepper, allspice, and thyme. It can be supplemented with garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika, parsley, brown sugar, ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
If you'd like some heat to garnish these but are afraid of scotch bonnets, which are exceedingly hot when consumed raw, try swapping these with pickled jalapeños. Alternatively, combine some harissa paste or sriracha with mayonnaise to create a spicy spread you can smear across your potato slider buns.
Recipe: Jerk Shrimp Burger Sliders
At first glance, you might think this dish seems a bit odd. Vanilla extract is typically reserved for sweet recipes rather than savory ones, but it doesn't have to be. Its inherent nutty, boozy flavor can accentuate the sweetness in savory recipes. In this case, shrimp has a natural sweetness to its meat that is beautifully juxtaposed by this marinade.
While many recipes call for discarding a marinade after use, this one recommends combining it with chicken stock and boiling it for 10 minutes before serving it with the shrimp. According to the USDA, doing so will kill any potentially harmful bacteria.
Recipe: Vanilla Shrimp
Grilled Shrimp With Cilantro-Chili Sauce
This recipe calls for peeled, tail-on shrimp. Before using the shrimp, you must remove the dark vein that runs down the back of each one. These structures are actually the intestinal tract of the shrimp. If not carefully removed, it can cause them to taste off and have a gritty texture.
The process of deveining a shrimp is simple but tedious. Place each shrimp flat on a cutting board and run a sharp paring knife down its backside. Once the vein's exposed, use the tip of the paring knife to gently pry it out of the shrimp and discard it. Repeat with the remaining shrimp or buy ones that have been deveined.
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