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Fabricating Fish & Seafood: A Primer

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HistoricFoodie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 February 2013 at 06:06

Well, if you come across another one, Dave, keep me in mind. I'd love to have one in my seafood kit.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HistoricFoodie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 February 2013 at 21:53



<p style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 10pt" =msonormal=""><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal"><span style="LINE-HEIGHT: 115%; FONT-FAMILY: 'Times New Roman','serif'; FONT-SIZE: 12pt">Part 7: Crustaceans<o:p></o:p></span>


<p style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 10pt" =msonormal=""><span style="LINE-HEIGHT: 115%; FONT-FAMILY: 'Times New Roman','serif'; FONT-SIZE: 12pt">For the sake of discussion, crustaceans are sea creatures, other than shellfish, which have their hard skeletons on the outside. Most often this means crabs, lobsters, and crayfish. But for ease of classification, we’ll include shrimp and sea urchins as well. <o:p></o:p></span>


<p style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt" =msonormal=""><span style="LINE-HEIGHT: 115%; FONT-FAMILY: 'Times New Roman','serif'; FONT-SIZE: 12pt">Shrimp. Taken as a group, it’s likely that shrimp are the most popular seafood eaten in America. Short of those unfortunates who suffer allergies, most people eat them in one form or another.<o:p></o:p></span>


<p style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt" =msonormal=""><span style="LINE-HEIGHT: 115%; FONT-FAMILY: 'Times New Roman','serif'; FONT-SIZE: 12pt"><span style="mso-spacerun: yes">     </span>There are six species of shrimp, but they are all similar in appearance. Shrimp are found in both fresh and salt water, in a bewildering array of sizes from almost microscopic to a whopping 12 inches long. Other than size, shrimp and prawns are virtually indistinguishable, from a culinary viewpoint, so are treated as one group.<o:p></o:p></span>


<p style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt" =msonormal=""><span style="LINE-HEIGHT: 115%; FONT-FAMILY: 'Times New Roman','serif'; FONT-SIZE: 12pt"><span style="mso-spacerun: yes">     </span>At market, shrimp are sold by a numeric scale, with the numbers referring to how many shrimp make up a pound. Thus, 31-35 would mean there are between 31 and 35 shrimp per pound. Obviously, the lowerr the number the lower the number of shrimp. Those tiny, so-called “salad” shrimp are usually rated as 100, to give you an idea. <o:p></o:p></span>


<p style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt" =msonormal=""><span style="LINE-HEIGHT: 115%; FONT-FAMILY: 'Times New Roman','serif'; FONT-SIZE: 12pt"><span style="mso-spacerun: yes">     </span>Large shrimp that weigh-in less than 15 per pound will have a “U” in front of the number. That stands for “under.” U-12, for example, means there are less than (i.e., under) 12 of them per pound.<o:p></o:p></span>


<p style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt" =msonormal=""><span style="LINE-HEIGHT: 115%; FONT-FAMILY: 'Times New Roman','serif'; FONT-SIZE: 12pt"><span style="mso-spacerun: yes">     </span>Words like “large” “jumbo” and so forth are marketing terms. Unless they are accompanied by the number scale such terms are meaningless, because each processor uses arbitrarily, as there are no standards. Thus, one processors “medium” can just easily be called “jumbo” by another. <o:p></o:p></span>


<p style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt" =msonormal=""><span style="LINE-HEIGHT: 115%; FONT-FAMILY: 'Times New Roman','serif'; FONT-SIZE: 12pt"><span style="mso-spacerun: yes">     </span>Fresh shrimp should be clean looking, firm to the touch, and have no off odors. Frozen shrimp should be defrosted slowly, in the fridge. Defrosting them in cold water, as is sometimes recommended, will result in a loss of quality, often turning them mushy. <o:p></o:p></span>


<p style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt" =msonormal=""><span style="LINE-HEIGHT: 115%; FONT-FAMILY: 'Times New Roman','serif'; FONT-SIZE: 12pt"><span style="mso-spacerun: yes">     </span>How you prep shrimp depends on the end use. For grilling and broiling, and sometimes poaching/boiling, the shells are left in place for cooking. Other times, the shells are removed ahead of time.<o:p></o:p></span>


<p style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt" =msonormal=""><span style="LINE-HEIGHT: 115%; FONT-FAMILY: 'Times New Roman','serif'; FONT-SIZE: 12pt"><span style="mso-spacerun: yes">     </span>All wild shrimp have a dark “mud” vein running the length of their backs. This is actually the intestinal tract, and must be removed, because its content can add an off taste to the meat. Farmed shrimp often have the intestine empty of all matter, and, in fact, it often can’t be seen. Personally, I remove the veins from them anyway, even though it’s considered unnecessary. <o:p></o:p></span>


<p style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt" =msonormal=""><span style="LINE-HEIGHT: 115%; FONT-FAMILY: 'Times New Roman','serif'; FONT-SIZE: 12pt"><span style="mso-spacerun: yes">     </span>There’s been a big push on the part of celebrity chefs to use head-on shrimp, supposedly because they have more flavor that way. Maybe so. But it terms of availability, most shrimp sold in America have been beheaded before going to market.<o:p></o:p></span>


<p style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt" =msonormal=""><span style="LINE-HEIGHT: 115%; FONT-FAMILY: 'Times New Roman','serif'; FONT-SIZE: 12pt"><span style="mso-spacerun: yes">     </span>Many people struggle to both devein and peel shrimp. But it’s really kind of simple. First off, put your knife away. Using one is the slowest way of prepping shrimp.<o:p></o:p></span>


<p style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt" =msonormal=""><span style="LINE-HEIGHT: 115%; FONT-FAMILY: 'Times New Roman','serif'; FONT-SIZE: 12pt"><span style="mso-spacerun: yes">     </span>I remember once, visiting my folks in Florida, and Mom had decided to make shrimp. She’d gotten three pounds of them, and had maybe half a pound peeled and deveined by the time we got there. I kicked her out of her own kitchen (which, in the culinary world, is known as having more balls than brains) and took over, finishing the balance in the same time it had taken her to do the first batch.<o:p></o:p></span>


<p style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt" =msonormal=""><span style="LINE-HEIGHT: 115%; FONT-FAMILY: 'Times New Roman','serif'; FONT-SIZE: 12pt"><span style="mso-spacerun: yes">     </span>The difference? Mom was using a knife to cut the shells. Then, after peeling them, she’d cut down the backs to expose the veins, and remove them.<o:p></o:p></span>


<p style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt" =msonormal=""><span style="LINE-HEIGHT: 115%; FONT-FAMILY: 'Times New Roman','serif'; FONT-SIZE: 12pt"><span style="mso-spacerun: yes">     </span>It’s much faster, and easier, to do all of that in one motion. Although there are tools made for this purpose (Friend Wife swears by hers), it’s just as easy to use the tine of a fork.<o:p></o:p></span>


<p style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt" =msonormal=""><span style="LINE-HEIGHT: 115%; FONT-FAMILY: 'Times New Roman','serif'; FONT-SIZE: 12pt"><span style="mso-spacerun: yes">     </span>If you look at the face of the shrimp, where the head has been removed, you’ll see where the vein lies. Once you know the location you can proceed without even looking at it.<o:p></o:p></span>


<p style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt" =msonormal=""><span style="LINE-HEIGHT: 115%; FONT-FAMILY: 'Times New Roman','serif'; FONT-SIZE: 12pt"><span style="mso-spacerun: yes">     </span>Put the point of the tine or deveining tool against the vein, and, holding the shrimp back towards the tail, push hard. As the tool moves forward it simultaneously lifts the vein and splits the shell. Most of the time the shell comes off at once as well. If not, peel any that remains away with your fingers. <o:p></o:p></span>


<p style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt" =msonormal=""><span style="LINE-HEIGHT: 115%; FONT-FAMILY: 'Times New Roman','serif'; FONT-SIZE: 12pt"><span style="mso-spacerun: yes">     </span>It’s really that simple.<o:p></o:p></span>


<p style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt" =msonormal=""><span style="LINE-HEIGHT: 115%; FONT-FAMILY: 'Times New Roman','serif'; FONT-SIZE: 12pt"><span style="mso-spacerun: yes">     </span>More difficult is to devein shrimp without cutting or tearing their backs. But many people prefer them that way.<o:p></o:p></span>


<p style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt" =msonormal=""><span style="LINE-HEIGHT: 115%; FONT-FAMILY: 'Times New Roman','serif'; FONT-SIZE: 12pt"><span style="mso-spacerun: yes">     </span>Using a toothpick, stab the vein, crosswise, where it emerges from the front (where the head used to be). Then gently pull the vein out, being careful not to exert too much pressure or it will break off, leaving part of it in the shrimp.<o:p></o:p></span>


<p style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt" =msonormal=""><span style="LINE-HEIGHT: 115%; FONT-FAMILY: 'Times New Roman','serif'; FONT-SIZE: 12pt"><span style="mso-spacerun: yes">     </span>Caution: This is all but impossible to achieve with previously frozen and defrosted shrimp because the veins often turn soft and mushy. <o:p></o:p></span>


<p style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt" =msonormal=""><span style="LINE-HEIGHT: 115%; FONT-FAMILY: 'Times New Roman','serif'; FONT-SIZE: 12pt"><span style="mso-spacerun: yes">     </span>Many dishes, such as coconut shrimp, call for butterflying the prawns. While this can be time consuming it’s not difficult; certainly not as hard as many seem to think.<o:p></o:p></span>


<p style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt" =msonormal=""><span style="LINE-HEIGHT: 115%; FONT-FAMILY: 'Times New Roman','serif'; FONT-SIZE: 12pt"><span style="mso-spacerun: yes">     </span>Butterflying works best with a small, sharp knife. Lay a shelled and deveined shrimp on its side, with the tail towards your left (assuming you are right handed). Then, following the line of the vein, slice the shrimp about ¾ the way through, opening it flat. That’s all she takes.<o:p></o:p></span>


<p style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt" =msonormal=""><span style="LINE-HEIGHT: 115%; FONT-FAMILY: 'Times New Roman','serif'; FONT-SIZE: 12pt"><span style="mso-spacerun: yes">     </span>It should be obvious, but, the larger the shrimp the easier it is to butterfly. <o:p></o:p></span>


<p style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt" =msonormal=""><span style="LINE-HEIGHT: 115%; FONT-FAMILY: 'Times New Roman','serif'; FONT-SIZE: 12pt"><span style="mso-spacerun: yes">     </span>For a really nice presentation, butterfly the shrimp with their tails left on and standing upwards. Cook them so they remain in that position and arrange them on a plate the same way. <o:p></o:p></span>


<p style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt" =msonormal=""><span style="LINE-HEIGHT: 115%; FONT-FAMILY: 'Times New Roman','serif'; FONT-SIZE: 12pt"><span style="mso-spacerun: yes">     </span>It’s easy to overcook shrimp, particularly when using high-heat methods such as grilling and broiling. This often happens because you take too much time chasing them all over the grill or broiler pan. To avoid that try skewering them. That way, four or five shrimp form a group that is quickly and easily manipulated with tongs.<o:p></o:p></span>


<p style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt" =msonormal=""><span style="LINE-HEIGHT: 115%; FONT-FAMILY: 'Times New Roman','serif'; FONT-SIZE: 12pt"><span style="mso-spacerun: yes">     </span>I like to use two skewers for each group. This assures that they all remain aligned, and that they don’t spin and twist when you move them. <o:p></o:p></span>


<p style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt" =msonormal=""><span style="LINE-HEIGHT: 115%; FONT-FAMILY: 'Times New Roman','serif'; FONT-SIZE: 12pt"><o:p> </o:p></span>


<p style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt" =msonormal=""><span style="LINE-HEIGHT: 115%; FONT-FAMILY: 'Times New Roman','serif'; FONT-SIZE: 12pt">Sea Urchins. Once all but unknown in the United States, sea urchins---the hedgehogs of the ocean---have been steadily gaining in popularity the past ten years or so. You can’t mistake them for anything else; they look like purple-colored balls covered with sharp spines. <o:p></o:p></span>


<p style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt" =msonormal=""><span style="LINE-HEIGHT: 115%; FONT-FAMILY: 'Times New Roman','serif'; FONT-SIZE: 12pt"><span style="mso-spacerun: yes">     </span>While fabricating them is easy, handling them can be dangerous because of those spines. For that reason, and to make them more aesthetically pleasing, many people first trim the points with shears. On larger ones, that’s close to necessary. You can skip it on smaller ones, unless, as is often done, the shell is uses as a serving bowl for the final dish. If that’s the case, definitely trip the points. You don’t want your guests impaling themselves.<o:p></o:p></span>


<p style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt" =msonormal=""><span style="LINE-HEIGHT: 115%; FONT-FAMILY: 'Times New Roman','serif'; FONT-SIZE: 12pt"><span style="mso-spacerun: yes">     </span>To clean them, hold the urchin in a towel or heavy glove, with the spines downwards. You’ll see a small hole in the bottom center. Insert one point of your shears in that hole and cut completely around the underside of the shell. Discard that piece.<o:p></o:p></span>


<p style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt" =msonormal=""><span style="LINE-HEIGHT: 115%; FONT-FAMILY: 'Times New Roman','serif'; FONT-SIZE: 12pt"><span style="mso-spacerun: yes">     </span>Carefully spoon out the orange-colored roe sacks and transfer them to a bowl. Go easy with this, as they’re very fragile, and you usually want to keep them whole.<o:p></o:p></span>


<p style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt" =msonormal=""><span style="LINE-HEIGHT: 115%; FONT-FAMILY: 'Times New Roman','serif'; FONT-SIZE: 12pt"><span style="mso-spacerun: yes">     </span>Scrape out and discard everything else inside the shell.<o:p></o:p></span>


<p style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt" =msonormal=""><span style="LINE-HEIGHT: 115%; FONT-FAMILY: 'Times New Roman','serif'; FONT-SIZE: 12pt"><span style="mso-spacerun: yes">    </span>To me, sea urchin defines what the sea tastes like, and should be eaten raw. But the roe, or “uni” can be poached, or even pureed and added to sauces. <o:p></o:p></span>


<p style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt" =msonormal=""><span style="LINE-HEIGHT: 115%; FONT-FAMILY: 'Times New Roman','serif'; FONT-SIZE: 12pt"><o:p> </o:p></span>


<p style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt" =msonormal=""><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal"><span style="LINE-HEIGHT: 115%; FONT-FAMILY: 'Times New Roman','serif'; FONT-SIZE: 12pt">Coconut Shrimp with Sweet & Sour Sauce<o:p></o:p></span>


<p style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt" =msonormal=""><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal"><span style="LINE-HEIGHT: 115%; FONT-FAMILY: 'Times New Roman','serif'; FONT-SIZE: 12pt"><o:p> </o:p></span>


<p style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt" =msonormal=""><span style="LINE-HEIGHT: 115%; FONT-FAMILY: 'Times New Roman','serif'; FONT-SIZE: 12pt">1 lb large (16-20) shrimp<o:p></o:p></span>


<p style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt" =msonormal=""><span style="LINE-HEIGHT: 115%; FONT-FAMILY: 'Times New Roman','serif'; FONT-SIZE: 12pt">Flour<o:p></o:p></span>


<p style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt" =msonormal=""><span style="LINE-HEIGHT: 115%; FONT-FAMILY: 'Times New Roman','serif'; FONT-SIZE: 12pt">3 eggs<o:p></o:p></span>


<p style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt" =msonormal=""><span style="LINE-HEIGHT: 115%; FONT-FAMILY: 'Times New Roman','serif'; FONT-SIZE: 12pt">2 tbls cream<o:p></o:p></span>


<p style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt" =msonormal=""><span style="LINE-HEIGHT: 115%; FONT-FAMILY: 'Times New Roman','serif'; FONT-SIZE: 12pt">½ lb shredded, unsweetened coconut<o:p></o:p></span>


<p style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt" =msonormal=""><span style="LINE-HEIGHT: 115%; FONT-FAMILY: 'Times New Roman','serif'; FONT-SIZE: 12pt">¼ cup flour<o:p></o:p></span>


<p style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt" =msonormal=""><span style="LINE-HEIGHT: 115%; FONT-FAMILY: 'Times New Roman','serif'; FONT-SIZE: 12pt"><o:p> </o:p></span>


<p style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt" =msonormal=""><span style="LINE-HEIGHT: 115%; FONT-FAMILY: 'Times New Roman','serif'; FONT-SIZE: 12pt">Peel the shrimp, leaving tails on. Butterfly them.<o:p></o:p></span>


<p style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt" =msonormal=""><span style="LINE-HEIGHT: 115%; FONT-FAMILY: 'Times New Roman','serif'; FONT-SIZE: 12pt"><o:p> </o:p></span>


<p style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt" =msonormal=""><span style="LINE-HEIGHT: 115%; FONT-FAMILY: 'Times New Roman','serif'; FONT-SIZE: 12pt">Set up a three-stand breading station. Put some flour in the first bowl. In the second beat the eggs and cream. In the third put the coconut, tossed with the quarter cup of flour.<o:p></o:p></span>


<p style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt" =msonormal=""><span style="LINE-HEIGHT: 115%; FONT-FAMILY: 'Times New Roman','serif'; FONT-SIZE: 12pt"><o:p> </o:p></span>


<p style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt" =msonormal=""><span style="LINE-HEIGHT: 115%; FONT-FAMILY: 'Times New Roman','serif'; FONT-SIZE: 12pt">Dredge the shrimp in flour, brushing off any excess. Dip them in the egg wash. Press them into the coconut, with the tails upwards, and sprinkle the tops with more coconut. You want a fairly heavy coat on each side of the shrimp.<o:p></o:p></span>


<p style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt" =msonormal=""><span style="LINE-HEIGHT: 115%; FONT-FAMILY: 'Times New Roman','serif'; FONT-SIZE: 12pt"><o:p> </o:p></span>


<p style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt" =msonormal=""><span style="LINE-HEIGHT: 115%; FONT-FAMILY: 'Times New Roman','serif'; FONT-SIZE: 12pt">Deep fry at 375F, 2-3 minutes, until brown and crispy.<o:p></o:p></span>


<p style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt" =msonormal=""><span style="LINE-HEIGHT: 115%; FONT-FAMILY: 'Times New Roman','serif'; FONT-SIZE: 12pt"><o:p> </o:p></span>


<p style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt" =msonormal=""><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal"><span style="LINE-HEIGHT: 115%; FONT-FAMILY: 'Times New Roman','serif'; FONT-SIZE: 12pt">Sweet & Sour Sauce<o:p></o:p></span>


<p style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt" =msonormal=""><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal"><span style="LINE-HEIGHT: 115%; FONT-FAMILY: 'Times New Roman','serif'; FONT-SIZE: 12pt"><o:p> </o:p></span>


<p style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt" =msonormal=""><span style="LINE-HEIGHT: 115%; FONT-FAMILY: 'Times New Roman','serif'; FONT-SIZE: 12pt">1 red bell pepper, chopped fine<o:p></o:p></span>


<p style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt" =msonormal=""><span style="LINE-HEIGHT: 115%; FONT-FAMILY: 'Times New Roman','serif'; FONT-SIZE: 12pt">1 medium onion, chopped fine<o:p></o:p></span>


<p style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt" =msonormal=""><span style="LINE-HEIGHT: 115%; FONT-FAMILY: 'Times New Roman','serif'; FONT-SIZE: 12pt">1 tomato, chopped fine<o:p></o:p></span>


<p style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt" =msonormal=""><span style="LINE-HEIGHT: 115%; FONT-FAMILY: 'Times New Roman','serif'; FONT-SIZE: 12pt">1 cup tomato or V-8 juice<o:p></o:p></span>


<p style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt" =msonormal=""><span style="LINE-HEIGHT: 115%; FONT-FAMILY: 'Times New Roman','serif'; FONT-SIZE: 12pt">1 ½ cups simple syrup or 1 cup light corn syrup<o:p></o:p></span>


<p style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt" =msonormal=""><span style="LINE-HEIGHT: 115%; FONT-FAMILY: 'Times New Roman','serif'; FONT-SIZE: 12pt">¼ cup molasses<o:p></o:p></span>


<p style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt" =msonormal=""><span style="LINE-HEIGHT: 115%; FONT-FAMILY: 'Times New Roman','serif'; FONT-SIZE: 12pt">1 tbls vinegar<o:p></o:p></span>


<p style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt" =msonormal=""><span style="LINE-HEIGHT: 115%; FONT-FAMILY: 'Times New Roman','serif'; FONT-SIZE: 12pt">1 orange peeled and chopped fine<o:p></o:p></span>


<p style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt" =msonormal=""><span style="LINE-HEIGHT: 115%; FONT-FAMILY: 'Times New Roman','serif'; FONT-SIZE: 12pt"><o:p> </o:p></span>


<p style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt" =msonormal=""><span style="LINE-HEIGHT: 115%; FONT-FAMILY: 'Times New Roman','serif'; FONT-SIZE: 12pt">Steam pepper and onion in a little water until soft. Transfer to a saucepan. Add the other ingredients and bring to a simmer. Reduce the sauce to desired degree of thickness.<o:p></o:p></span>


<p style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt" =msonormal=""><span style="LINE-HEIGHT: 115%; FONT-FAMILY: 'Times New Roman','serif'; FONT-SIZE: 12pt"><o:p> </o:p></span>


<p style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt" =msonormal=""><span style="LINE-HEIGHT: 115%; FONT-FAMILY: 'Times New Roman','serif'; FONT-SIZE: 12pt">Spoon some of the sauce onto a serving plate. Arrange shrimp on the sauce, with their tails sticking upwards. <o:p></o:p></span>


<p style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt" =msonormal=""><span style="LINE-HEIGHT: 115%; FONT-FAMILY: 'Times New Roman','serif'; FONT-SIZE: 12pt"><o:p> </o:p></span>


<p style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt" =msonormal=""><span style="LINE-HEIGHT: 115%; FONT-FAMILY: 'Times New Roman','serif'; FONT-SIZE: 12pt"><o:p> </o:p></span>


<p style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 10pt" =msonormal=""><span style="LINE-HEIGHT: 115%; FONT-FAMILY: 'Times New Roman','serif'; FONT-SIZE: 12pt"><span style="mso-spacerun: yes"> </span><o:p></o:p></span>


<p style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt" =msonormal=""><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight: normal"><span style="LINE-HEIGHT: 115%; FONT-FAMILY: 'Times New Roman','serif'; FONT-SIZE: 12pt"><o:p> </o:p></span>




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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Hoser Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 March 2013 at 01:47
Originally posted by HistoricFoodie HistoricFoodie wrote:

Well, if you come across another one, Dave, keep me in mind. I'd love to have one in my seafood kit.


These openers are now being treated somewhat as an antique Brook...they were imported by Hoffritz and most were made in Italy as I recall. I've had mine since around 1976 or so and have not seen many since then. 

I'll certainly keep my eyes open for one Brook! Thumbs Up
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Part 8: Crustaceans Continued

Crabs: Crabs are found all over the world, in a diversity of sizes from the tiny oyster- and sand-crabs, to the monsters of the northern seas; spider- and king crabs.

 With minor differences in appearance, crabs generally follow the same body structure, consisting of a hard top shell, called a carapace, a softer (but still hard) belly shell, a tail that folds under the bottom shell, called an apron, and eight legs, two of which have been modified into claws with most species. There also are a pair of swim fins in the back.

     Crabs grow by shedding their shells. When they do that they are particularly vulnerable for a few days until the new shell hardens. For that period after the moult they are called “softies,” or, more correctly, soft-shelled crabs.

     Hard shell and soft shell crabs are prepped differently. Let’s start with the hard shelled versions, because those are the more commonly available.

     Rule one: Always start with live crabs. Dead ones spoil very quickly, and eating them can cause illnesses.

     Most of the time crabs are cooked whole. They’re then just eaten that way, or the meat is picked out and used in other dishes, such as crab cakes. Some recipes, particularly seafood stews, do call for raw crabs as an ingredient.

     Whether alive of pre-cooked, the fabricating process is the same. You might want to put the live ones in the freezer for about an hour, first, as it makes them more docile and easier to handle.

     If serving them whole, leave the claws in place. If not, break them off where they emerge from the shells. To remove the meat, crack the pinchers with a nutcracker, and pick out the meat with a seafood pick or cocktail fork. Don’t forget the nugget found at the knuckle. And there’s good meat in the balance of the leg as well.

     Of the three types of meat found in a crab (claw, backfin, and lump), claw meat is considered the least desirable because of its coarse texture. But all that is relative; the meat is still good. And is sometimes the required part, as when making crab fingers.

     Snap off the remaining legs. Turn the crab on its back. You’ll see the apron, centered between the swimming fins, lying flat against the bottom shell. Lift it up, and break it off.

     By the way, if you care about such things, you can sex the crabs by the shape of the apron. Broad, shield-shaped aprons indicate females, whereas long, thin, pointed aprons identify males.

     Once the apron is removed there’s a sort of slit between the two shells. Using your thumbs in the slit, and your fingers on either side, sharply snap the shells apart. The top shell will come away clean. Unless you intend using it as a serving dish, discard it.

     Set the bottom half down with the innards exposed. What you’ll see immediately are the straining gills; a set of slightly curved fingers, overlapping the intestinal tract from each side. Colloquially these are called “dead man’s fingers.” And for good reason. Toxins collect in them, and if you eat them you can become incredibly sick; to the point of dying. So be sure and discard them.

     Once they’re out of the way you’ll see the rest of the innards, including the liver. That’s considered a delicacy in some cuisines, and you can reserve it if you wish. Most people discard it, along with everything else in the body cavity.

     What’s left is an empty central cavity, flanked on each side by a series of compartments, each of which contains the crab meat.

     If you’re using the crab uncooked, at this stage give the shell a rinse, and cut it in half, tail to head.

     With cooked crab you’re now going to recover the meat. This requires a seafood pick and patience. Basically you’re going to use the pick to draw the meat out of those compartments. The walls of the compartments are cartilage, incidentally, which sometimes breaks off and gets mixed with the meat. If you see any, pick it out and discard it. It’s inedible, and has an off-putting mouth feel. One sign of good crabmeat, in fact, is that it is cartilage free.

     As you remove the meat you’ll notice different textures. The first one or two compartments towards the back will have meat that’s flaky and stringy. That’s called “backfin,” because it’s located next to the swim fins. As you move further forward the meat comes out in big pieces. This is the preferred “lump” crabmeat. On larger crabs, the central compartment will yield a really nice chunk. This is the “jumbo lump.” Because there’s so little of it, you can understand why it commands such high prices at the fish monger.

     Although it’s a pain in the fingers to recover, the legs do contain meat. Using the nutcracker and picks you can recover it. Most people do not bother, except with the larger varieties of crab.

     If you’re reserving the top shells as serving dishes, wash them well with soap, hot water, and a scouring brush to assure no bits of flesh are left behind. I doesn’t hurt to dip them in a sanitizer while you’re at it. Let them air dry completely, then store away.

     These crab-shell dishes are often used when making things like deviled crab and crab imperial.

 

Softies are cleaned in a totally different manner. Due to chemical and hormonal changes, the shell and cartilage become edible at that stage. All you want to do is remove the body organs.

     Hold the crab by sandwiching it between your fingers and thumb by the back. Look at the front. You’ll see the crab’s face, including its eyes and mouth. You’ll only have to do this once, to know how to locate it.

     Using shears, cut off the face, behind the eyes. Then remove the innards.

     I’ve been told you can do this by lifting the apron and pulling outwards. All the guts and body organs will come out in a line. Could be. But I’ve never done it that way, nor do I know anybody who has.

     The more typical method is to hold the crab by the swim fins. Then give it a sharp, downward snap. Inertial will force all the innards out through the cut you made when removing the face.

     Obviously, this is a job best done outdoors, or over a fairly large tub, to prevent making a mess in the house.

     Spider and king crabs are marketed by selling the claws, only. Almost always they are pre-cooked as well. So the only required prep work is to break the shells with a set of nutcrackers.

    

Fried Stuffed Hard Crabs

A perennial problem for crab aficionados is whether to have crab cakes or to just enjoy whole cooked crabs. The folks in Baltimore have a different attitude: why choose, when you can have both? That’s how this dish originated.

     Note that the “breading” for this dish is pancake batter. You can either mix your own or just use a commercial mix.

 

1 lb lump crabmeat

½ cup fresh breadcrumbs

1 large egg

¼ cup mayonnaise

½ tsp salt

¼ tsp pepper

1 tsp Worcestershire

1 tsp dry mustard

1 tbls Old Bay seasoning

12 large Blue Claw crabs

6 cups pancake mix

4 tsp Old Bay seasoning

3-4 cups milk

Oil for frying

 

Remove all cartilage from crabmeat.

 

In a bowl combine the breadcrumbs, eggs, mayo, and seasonings. Add the crabmeat and mix gently but thoroughly, trying to not break up the crab pieces. If mixture is too dry add a bit more mayo.

 

Note: At this point you have the makings of a Maryland style crab cake.

 

Put the pancake mix and Old Bay in a large bowl. Stir in enough milk to make a thick pancake batter.

 

Remove the apron, top shell, and innards of the crabs. Firmly pack about a quarter cup of the crab cake mixture into the body cavity of each crab.

 

Dip crabs in batter, one at a time, making sure to coat all sides. Lift the crab by a large claw and let the excess batter drip back into the bowl.

 

Fry in deep fat, at 375F, until golden brown on all sides, 3-4 minutes.

But we hae meat and we can eat
And sae the Lord be thanket
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 March 2013 at 10:06
The Beautiful Mrs. Tas LOVES crab, Brook - in fact, I suspect that she loves crab more than she loves me!Shocked 
 
I'll have to put some of this to use for her - our available crab is frozen rather than fresh, and always looks like it's 2 or 3 years old, even if it isn't. The other alternative is the "imitation" crab, which is good, however - it's just not the same.....
 
Many thanks for posting!
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Something else to put on your list when you visit the big city, Ron.
 
Crab is easily pasturized. When we buy it locally, that's how we get it. It's packed in 1-pound containers, and is available as claw, lump, and jumbo lump. It's likely you'll find it that way at seafood counters down there.
 
It ain't cheap, though. Most recently the lump was $22/pound. Jumbo lump pushed the $30 mark. Even the claw was expensive; something like $17.
 
We don't buy it too often. Instead we make periodic vacation trips to the coast, and catch & process our own.
 
Frozen is exponentially better than the canned stuff, though. OMG! Talk about underqualitied and over priced. One experience with canned crab was two too many.
 
Meanwhile, if the lovely and vivacious Mrs Tas is interested in recipes, let me know. Crab is one of our favorite seafoods, and I have dozens of recipes using it.
 
Another word for the imitation crab is "pollack." We happen to prefer our finned fishes straight, rather than processed into imitation anything. So we never use the faux crab.
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Part 9: Crustations Completed

We’ll complete of conversation about crustations with lobsters, and lobster-shaped critters. In the interests of full disclosure, this will likely be the shortest chapter of this primer because I have never broken down a live lobster. I know how it’s done, in general. But if there are nuances and subtleties they are unknown to me.

Lobsters, in various forms, are found worldwide, ranging from freshwater crayfish, to the clawless spiny and rock lobsters of southern waters, to the royalty among them, the American or Maine lobster.

Visually, langostini could be included in that group. I’m going to ignore them, however, for two reasons: First, most of us here at FotW will never even see one; they are rarely seen any further than the major East Coast cities, and are expensive when they do appear; and, second, culinarily they are treated more like shrimp than like lobsters.

Crayfish: The smallest of the lobsters, crayfish have been gaining in popularity the past decade or so. As a result, they are more available in places you wouldn’t expect to find them.

     Unless you trap your own (which isn’t difficult), it is unlikely that you’ll ever eat a wild crayfish. Those sold in markets are farmed in Louisiana, parts of Arkansas, and China. Markets carry them both live and precooked, or frozen. Personally, unless I really knew the fishmonger well, I would no more buy a precooked crayfish than I’d buy a dead oyster.

     Like all lobsters, the meat is found in the tail and claws. But there are other edible parts as well, including the roe (sometimes called the coral) and the liver (aka tomalley).

     As with crabs, crayfish are almost always cooked. They’re then eaten just like that (in a ceremony called “sucking heads and biting tails,”), or the meat is recovered to use in other dishes. Raw crayfish meat is recovered from the tails only.

     Whether cooked or raw, the process is the same. Break off the head, just behind the thorax. Then use a seafood pick to pull the meat out of the tail. With raw crayfish there’s a blob of fat in there as well. Be sure to recover it, as it’s incredibly flavorful, to begin with, and is necessary for certain classic dishes as well.

     As an alternative to a pick, you can use scissors to cut the under shell of the tail and pick out the meat with your fingers. The preferred method is whichever is faster and easier for you.

     To be sure, there is a little lump of meat in the claw. But most people do not bother recovering it, as it’s hardly worth the effort.

 

Spiny lobsters. Known also as rock lobster and South African lobster, these lack the large claws of the American, so only the tails are used. They are available raw, cooked, and frozen.

     Lobster tails are most often broiled or baked, and it’s very easy to overcook them. For that reason, any fabrication should be done after cooking. The best presentation is to split the under shell with shears. Then work the tail out so it sits on top of the shell, appearing to be attached at the tail end.

     Whole spiny lobsters are sometimes available in the Gulf states. Treat them the same as crayfish.

 

American lobster: The largest of the breed, and the most in demand in North America, lobsters can grow to a hundred pounds if given enough time and forage. The market size is generally 1 ¼-3 pounds. Hallmark of the American lobster is, of course, the large, meat-filled pincher claws.

     There is one difference between American lobsters, in general, and Maine lobsters in particular. And that has to do with size. The U.S. and Canada are the two primary sources of these lobsters. But, because Canadian regulations allow harvesting them much smaller than do U.S. regs, if it’s called a Maine lobster it must, by law, come from New England waters.

     Other than that there is no difference between them.

     Due to fighting or other accidents, lobsters sometimes lose a claw. In the wild it will regenerate over time. But harvested lobsters missing a claw are sold as “culls.” If you’re not interested in the aesthetics, you can save considerable money by buying culls.

     Lobster meat is very delicate, and suffers greatly by overcooking---it which case it turns tough and rubbery. For that reason, lobsters are most often cooked with the shells in place, particularly if high-heat methods, such as broiling and grilling are being used. Probably the most common use of lobster is to boil it whole just until the shell turns red. It is then served like that, with a pick and nutcracker for each diner, or processed further.

     Fabricating a live lobster consists, primarily, by splitting it. Put the lobster in the freezer, first, for about an hour. Doing so makes it go dormant.

     Lay the lobster flat on your work surface, backside up. Holding it by the tail section, split the head down the center from the thorax forward. Turn the lobster around and continue cutting down the tail.

     This, obviously, results in two equal halves. You can cook it like that (usually broiling or grilling), or recover the meat for other uses.

     The advantage to splitting the lobster is that it exposes the roe and tomalley, which many people consider great delicacies.

     Very often, when served that way, the claws are detached and served separately. In that case they should be cracked ahead of time with a nutcracker or seafood mallet.

 

This by no means exhausts the kinds of seafood available. Octopus, squid, and cuttlefish, for instance, or eaten worldwide. So, too, are eels, skates, sharks, and other fishes. But because most of us will never see them except already cleaned and prepped, fabricating them goes beyond the scope of a primer.

 

I’m going to complete this primer with one of my more popular recipes. Seafood types combine readily with each other, and you often see finned fish combined with shellfish, or two or more shellfish combined in a dish. This recipe is, perhaps, the ultimate in that idea.

 

One cautionary note: Although it uses readily available ingredients, there are several techniques involved. So don’t embark on this recipe unless you have the time and patience to devote to it.

 

Some background on how the recipe came about might be interesting.

 

One day I decided to develop a seafood sausage recipe. Essentially you combine various seafoods and other flavorings into a forcemeat, wrap portions of that in plastic wrap to form logs, and poach them in stock.

 

Shortly after I’d finalized my mix I saw Cat Cora make what she called Seafood Corn Dogs. She made a seafood puree, transferred it to a pastry bag with a large tip, and piped the mixture directly into simmering stock, to form the “hotdogs.” She inserted a skewer into each one, batter dipped them, and deep fried the whole thing.

 

“Wow!” I thought. “That would work great with my sausage mix. Instead of logs, however, I poached the mixture in balls, inserted them on sticks, and dipped them in a cornmeal-based beer batter.

 

Later on I realized that there was no need to insert the sticks before frying. Instead, I deep fry the balls first.

 

Seafood Lollipops With Peach Gastrique

 

1 lb raw shrimp, peeled and deveined

½ lb salmon (or other fish of your choice)

6 oz cooked crab meat

12 oz cooked crayfish tails, coarsely chopped

6 oysters, drained (optional)

1 large shallot, minced

1 tsp fennel seed, coarsely ground

1 tbls dry tarragon

2 tbls broad-leaf parsley, minced

¾ tsp white pepper, ground

2 egg whites

2 tbls cream

Fish stock for poaching

Cornstarch for dusting

Beer batter for breading

Oil for deep frying

 

Cut the salmon in small pieces. Toss with the shrimp, crabmeat, oyster if using, tarragon, parsley, fennel seed and white pepper so the spices are evenly distributed. Run mixture through the medium plate of a grinder, or pulse in a food processor.

 

Mix in the crayfish tails as evenly as possible.

 

Lightly beat egg whites with cream. Incorporate into seafood mixture.

 

In a saucepan or deep skillet bring enough stock to cover the balls to a simmer.

 

Using an appropriately sized disher, or a pair of soup spoons, drop balls of the mixture into the simmering stock, rolling them to avoid flat spots as much as possible. Poach for a minute or two, just long enough for the balls to form a skin. Drain the balls and let cool.

 

Dust the balls with cornstarch, shaking off any excess. Dip the balls in beer batter until well coated. Deep fry at 350-375F until golden brown and crispy. Drain well.

 

Insert a stick into each ball. Arrange on a serving plate and drizzle with peach gastrique.

 

Beer Batter

 

1 cup cornmeal

½ cup all-purpose flour

Salt, pepper, and powdered garlic to taste

1 tbls baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1 tbls sugar

1 cup (approx.) beer

 

Combine the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl. Slowly whisk in enough beer to form a pancake-like batter.

 

Peach Gastrique

 

1 cup peach nectar or peach cider (preferred)

¼ cup red wine vinegar

1 tbls brown sugar

 

In a saucepan combine the peach nectar and brown sugar. Reduce by half. Add the vinegar and reduce until syrupy.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote africanmeat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 March 2013 at 11:36
I don't have words i am Speechless thanks thanks .
what a great post .


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    Hi Brook, I was away from the house much of the last couple of days...so I haven't had time to properly digest all of the information you have posted recently.  Upon a quick read of ALL the great information you posted on shellfish and crustaceans, it seemed to focus on the varying types and how to clean and prep the little guys for cooking.  The idea you shared for De-veining shell on shrimp is nearly revolutionary!  I am wondering if you have any precautionary advice for cooking any of these lovely little morsels.

   I know when I'm cooking shrimp, scallops, lobster, spiny lobster I always watch so I don't overcook the food.  Good fresh shrimp has such a wonderful texture when you bite into them.  But overcooking them with heat or acid can give you an undesirable texture and loss of flavor (much like overcooking the flavor out of beef, chicken, etc). 

   If sauteing the shrimp/scallops in a pan, to be the star of the dish, I'll start with a decent amount of heat on the pan.  In goes my oil of choice and I cook on one side until I get good color on the side being cooked.  Then I often flip them and remove the pan off of the heat and let the remaining heat in the pan cook the other side of the shrimp/scallop in a more gentle manner.

   This method may not fit all cooking situations, but it allows the shrimp/scallop to be cooked through, without overcooking.  Plus, once you flip the shrimp/scallops and remove the pan from the heat it gives you a nice bit of time to finish another part of the preparation. 


   (also) On Crawfish - I want to start trapping my own crawfish throughout the year.  We've got plenty of them around in specific rivers and creeks and it seems like a waste not to come home every couple of days with a handful of crawfish to put atop a dish.  I know nothing about trapping crawfish and need to first find out if there is a season for trapping them, I'll check with the DNR.

   Is there anything I should know about wild crawfish that you can think of?


  Thanks
Dan

  

  
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Let me start with the last part first, Dan.
 
Although there are specific crawfish traps, I've found that a minnow trap works just as well. Bait it with meat protein---chicken necks and backs work great.
 
Basically, it's no different than trapping crabs. The crayfish enter the conical openings in the minnow trap and can't find their way out.
 
One caution: Water snakes often find their way into the traps. So don't be startled when that happens.
 
I would also transfer the crawdads to a tub of clean water, for a day or two, so they can purge themselves.
 
I don't know about year 'round, though. Crawfish go semi domant in the winter, burying themselves in the mud or in crevices between the rocks. They do little feeding during that period.  So trying to trap them might just be an exercize in futility.
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..... it seemed to focus on the varying types and how to clean and prep the little guys for cooking. 
 
That was the point of the primer, Dan. It's primary focus is on fabricating fish and seafood, in order to get it ready for cooking.
 
If there's interest shown, I can do another on the various ways of cooking fish and seafood.
 
Your point about overcooking cannot be stressed enough. Even chefs and cookbook authors who should know better often provide cooking times that are far too long.
 
Shrimp is a perfect example. There is no reason to ever cook them more than about three minutes. The higher the heat source (i.e., grilling and broiling) the easier it is to over cook them. One of the reasons I like to skewer shrimp being grilled is so that they don't get away from me, timewise, while chasing them all over the grill.
 
For finned fishes, the general rule is ten minutes per inch of thickness at the thickest point. A whole trout, therefore, might require 20 minutes of cooking, while a filet from that same fish might only need six or eight minutes.
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The only thing I would add to the shrimp section, if you are catching wild shrimp yourself it is best to freeze them before using them. If you used them straight from the water their shells are murder to remove. We do a lot of wading shrimping on the flats around here.
Even shrimp coming straight from the boat have been on ice (and salt) long enough to do the trick.
Since I can get them I do prefer head on shrimp...if I am going to boil them, otherwise I don't think it matters much.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HistoricFoodie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 March 2013 at 15:34
Interesting point about fresh shrimp and their shells, Mark. I didn't know that.
 
Only time I've even handled straight-from-the-water shrimp was as bait, and peeling them was not an issue.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote MarkR Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 March 2013 at 16:28
Originally posted by HistoricFoodie HistoricFoodie wrote:

Interesting point about fresh shrimp and their shells, Mark. I didn't know that.
Only time I've even handled straight-from-the-water shrimp was as bait, and peeling them was not an issue.

Unless you catch and cook wild shrimp, you would not make the mistake! Lesson learned the hard way, 5lbs of tough love! Then have to listen to my buds laugh....
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Margi Cintrano Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 March 2013 at 16:45
 
Gentlemen, Good Evening,
 
 
 
I would like to show you a fresh Jumbo Iberian Shrimp, called a Crevette which is indigenious on the Galician Northwest Coast of the Iberian Peninsula up to the French Brittany Coast in northwest France ...
 
The fishermen place them on top of ice, to transport them; not in ice ...
 
This is one of the most exquisite shrimps in the world ...
 
 
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Gourmet´s Choice - Time Out In Spain ...

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Originally posted by HistoricFoodie HistoricFoodie wrote:

..... it seemed to focus on the varying types and how to clean and prep the little guys for cooking. 
 
That was the point of the primer, Dan. It's primary focus is on fabricating fish and seafood, in order to get it ready for cooking.
 
If there's interest shown, I can do another on the various ways of cooking fish and seafood.
 


First off, thanks for the crayfish advice...I can't wait to give it a try. 



  Second, You're exactly right about this being a "primer"...You even named it correctly.  I suppose I may have been getting ahead of myself.  I would certainly think there would be enough interest (these primers of yours are incredibly useful!).  But please take your time, the worst thing that could happen is you get burnt out. 

    Thanks a ton!
Dan
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Hoser Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 March 2013 at 05:31
I'll tell you what....I can hardly wait to try that fork method of deveining those little buggers!
What a great idea.Thumbs Up
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Just make sure it's a long-tined fork, Dave. Not one of those modern, stylized ones.
 
Wish I could take credit for the idea. But I learned in many years ago from a TV chef. Been so long I can't even remember who it was---Justin Wilson, perhaps? But I've been doing it that way ever since.
 
This marks the first time I've ever shared it in public, though.
 
Wish I'd known it the time I'd bought 16 pounds of rock shrimp in Haymarket Square. The vendor had them packed 4 pounds up, and was down to his last four bags, and it was pushing four PM. So, he said, if I took them all I could have 'em for four bucks---which even in 1969 was a hellova good price.
 
Cleaning 16 pounds of any kind of shrimp would have been a chore. You can imagine what it was like with Rock shrimp.
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I use a shrimp deveiner (sp?), Mine is a one piece red plastic tool similar to this

They should be available at a BB&B. They really do make the process much faster!
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That's similar to the one Friend Wife swears by, Mark. Her's is a slightly different configuration, but also red plastic. I wonder if that's a rule? Approve
 
I've nothing against them. But once I learned the fork-tine trick I failed to see their necessity. Essentially they work the same way.
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