Mistakes Everyone Makes When Cooking Shrimp

Shrimp is a versatile protein that can be made quickly, isn't too expensive, and a welcome break to all those weeknight chicken dinners. Shrimp may be a crowd-pleaser, but in order to please the crowd, it needs to be cooked right. So before you throw another shrimp on the barbie, or into the gumbo, try and avoid these common mistakes.

The first mistake you can make can happen even before you make it to the check-out counter. Make sure you're buying the right shrimp. Jumbo or scampi. Farm-raised or wild. Fresh or frozen. There are a lot of choices to make. Larger sized shrimp works better if you are making a shrimp cocktail or grilling it directly on the barbecue. If you're throwing them in the food processor to make shrimp burgers, then save on a more budget-friendly scampi. Or, when you're making a more elaborate dish, if wild shrimp is available and you're willing to spend a little extra then choose this option over farm-raised shrimp, as it usually tastes better (via All Recipes). 

Defrost before anything else

And finally, if you live near the water and a fish market, then always choose fresh over frozen (via All Recipes). Fresh is always best, especially when it comes to shrimp.

Once you've checked-out and have brought the shrimp home, try and avoid these simple cooking mistakes to ensure all the time you spent choosing the right shrimp is worth it. It's important to take the necessary time to defrost the shrimp before you start to cook it. Adding frozen shrimp to a stir-fry or in a stew will lower the cooking temperature of the dish and risk unevenly cooked shrimp. The easiest way to defrost these crustaceans is to set them in a bowl of cold water and let them get as close to room temperature as possible before cooking (via Huffington Post).

It is also important to remember to season your shrimp before or while cooking them. The taste of shrimp is incredibly mild, so don't be afraid to be a little heavy-handed with the salt. 

Look for the 'C' and not the 'O'

Another common mistake is that home cooks will often discard the heads and shells of the shrimp. These are the most flavorful parts of the shrimp! Before you throw the head and shells into the trash, consider sautéing them in butter to make a sauce. Or freeze the unused parts to save them until you can use them for a dish in the future (per Huffington Post).

And finally, one of the most common and perhaps the most offensive mistake you can make is to overcook this protein. This is easy to do as shrimp cook faster than many of us realize. An easy visual cue to look out for has to do with their shape. If the shrimp makes a 'C' shape on the grill or in the pan then it is done. If it makes an 'O' shape then it has been over cooked (via All Recipes).

We're excited if you're taking a break from chicken and elevating your meals with shrimp. And now that you know the common mistakes to avoid, we're sure your crowd-pleasing meal will absolutely please the crowd.