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Shrimp Tips
Note: Highlights from an excellent cookbook by Jay Harlow called Shrimp and Joy of Cooking.   

1.   Cooking shrimp in the shell preserves flavors that would otherwise be lost, and keeps the   shrimp firm.  It will not, however, curl as tightly
 as they do when peeled first. 
2.  Two pounds of shrimp with shells cooks down to 1 pound or 2 cups of shelled shrimp. This estimate probably does not include whole 
shrimp. If you have a local source that can get whole shrimp for you at a reasonable price, say $2.00 a pound, the additional labor of pulling 
the heads off does not add that much more time and effort to the process. I ordered 160 pounds for a dozen hardy local food co-op members and we
split the order.  
3.  If deveining a shrimp in shell, use scissors to cut open dorsal (back or outside), or cut outward with a small knife while holding the shrimp
 down on cutting board--safest and easiest way).  Harlow  cuts and inspects several shrimp in each batch first to see if deveining is even necessary. 
 If they are not especially dirty, he skips this step.  Following instructions apply to both raw and cooked shrimp. I should add that the smaller
 the shrimp, the more difficult it is to devein.
4.   To peel, hold shrimp at tail end, pull of legs and shell segments on ventral (bottom) side.  Upper shell segments will lift  away easily.  If 
the last tail section is to be used, carefully crack and peel the last segment so only the branched part of the tail is still encased in its shell.
5.  The vein is the last stage of the shrimp's digestive system. Author cuts open a few of the batch and if the veins do not seem especially dirty,
 he leaves them. To devein a peeled shrimp, hold by sides and cut dorsal (top) to expose vein.  Life or scrape out vein and rinse shrimp.  To
devein with shell on, use scissors to cut through dorsal curve, vein and rinse as above.  This seems feasible only if shrimp are large
6.   To butterfly, peel first leaving tail shells on.  Make the deveining cut deeper, almost all the way to the ventral side.  Devein and fold 
sides out flat.
7.  Salt-leaching is a technique used by the Chinese for shrimp to be sauteed or stir-fried. The salt draws out excess moisture. Small frozen
shrimp benefit especially, becoming firmer without being tough. Sprinkle 2 teaspoons kosher salt per pound, toss to distribute salt evenly, and
let stand 1 minute.  Rinse immediately and drain so salt does not soak into shrimp.   
8.  Author prefers steaming in the shells.  He uses 5-6 slices fresh ginger slices and 3 tablespoonsdry sherry or Chinese rice wine per pound
of shrimp.  You can use a rack or bamboo steaming basket in a wok or other deep pan for steaming.  Add at least 1" of water to
 pan, but below level of steaming rack, then sprinkles with salt, ginger and wine.  Bring to rolling boil, cover, and steam 5-8 minutes. Shrimp in the
 shell does not curl tightly.  When shape is important, as for Shrimp Cocktail, Omit seasonings and peel and devein shrimp, leaving tails.  Fill
 pan or wok with 1" water, bring to rolling boil, cover, and steam 4-7 minutes.  Meat should be "fully opaque."