If you’ve been avoiding shrimps with the shell on because you can’t quite figure out how to prepare them, here’s a quick rundown on peeling and deveining. It’s not complicated, it just takes time. You’ll need a paring knife and a bowl of ice water. While you work, you can keep the shrimp in ice water to keep them cold when not refrigerated. And since the shell is one of the most flavourful parts of the shrimp, you might want to keep the shells for making stock. Just seal the peel in a plastic bag and freeze until you need them.
Pull off the head the shrimp by twisting it. Next, pull off the legs.
Now peel off the outer shell, starting at the head and pulling the shell open from the bottom of the shrimp, where the legs were. You can keep the tail on for presentation purposes or just pull it off, too. Pinch the tail and pull out the meat inside.
You may see a small black line running down the shrimp’s back. This is the shrimp’s digestive tract. Using a paring knife just cut into the surface of the shrimp and you can pull out the vein with your fingers or with the tip of the knife.
Special to The Globe and Mail