Being from Boston, my uncles were all fishermen. Therefore, I was treated to an abundance of seafood, over the years. There was really nothing better than my uncles dropping off the days’ catch to my mom, who would almost make something unbelievable. I look back at my uncle’s dropping off baby lobsters because no one would purchase them, now we all recognize them as chicken lobsters, and if they were free, there would be a line around the block, to obtain them.
My husband grew up as a respectable midwestern boy, but he vacationed every summer in Cape Cod, where he devoured his share of great seafood.
When I moved to Ohio after we became married, I recognized that the seafood was strange; they didn’t have lobsters; They had crab legs, and I literally remember passing through the grocery store and saying, to myself, what are those? They just looked like something that came from outer space. Instead of cod, they sold salmon. I have never had salmon, so it was an acquired taste, my mother-in-law prepared the finest salmon that I have ever had. I will probably make it in the next couple of weeks, as we finish up Lent. She served it with a creamy dill dip, that even my son would eat (granted he would eat, the sauce without the salmon.)
Seafood is important, it’s an excellent source of protein without a lot of fat. It touches most of the marks, gluten-free, low carb, and other diets.
Here are some hints when buying shrimp at the grocery store:
1. Know your size of the shrimp: In the United States shrimp are sold by the size, which is the count per pound. The shrimp’s size is measured by the number of shrimp it takes to make 1 pound. You will often see other markings on a shrimp bag, with a U10, so it takes less than 10 shrimp to make 1 pound. Sometimes they also have terms such as medium, or jumbo, which are also on the bag
The common counts are:
U-10 (Under 10)–Extra Colossal
U-12 (Under 12) Super Colossal
2. The freshness of the Shrimp: Freshness of shrimp is important, they are highly perishable, and for safety reasons, you should always purchase fresh shrimp. One key when purchasing shrimp is that there should be no smell. Rotton shrimp smells a lot like ammonia, which means the shrimp has spoiled. Any sign of slime, avoid as it is a sign of rotten shrimp. Black spots also show that the shrimp is not fresh, they call this melanosis, which means that the shrimp is old. (Think about an apple turning brown)
Buying Fresh Shrimp vs. Frozen Shrimp
- In your seafood department, most shrimp is actually frozen or has been frozen, and the seafood counter just thawed if for you. Since you can easily thaw your own shrimp at home, I consider it safer (since you don’t know how long they have been in the seafood case) to purchase frozen.
- Shrimp is frozen in two ways, block and IQF, IQF means that it has individually quick frozen. About 90% of the shrimp frozen in supermarkets are IQF, they tend to have better flavor and texture.
For best results with any shrimp dish, all shrimp should be defrosted before cooking. Since, all you need to do, is place the frozen shrimp in a bowl of cold water, they should be defrosted within a matter of minutes. If you are looking for a faster method, put your shrimp into a large bowl, filled with cold water and have the faucet run, directly into the bowl. Once the shrimp is defrosted the shrimp will be more translucent and pliable.
Tails, Heads, and Shells:
They sell shrimp in a variety of ways, including head-on, tails on, and shell on, here is a breakdown on the different types sold in the United States.
- Shell-on shrimp: Just means that the shell is still on the shrimp.
- EZ-Peel Shrimp: They have already removed the head of the shrimp, the shrimp is split and deveined. This type of shrimp is generally more expensive since they did the work for you.
- Pre-Peeled Shrimp: These are already peeled for you and they are ready to go with any recipe. There is no prep that you need to do.
Don’t Forget to Pin—
This was an incredibly easy recipe to make in the air fryer, everything was made in the air fryer, except the rice, which was made in the Instant Pot. My kids loved it, and it's healthy and has a green leafy vegetable, so I was happy with that.
- 1 pound shrimp (peeled and deveined)
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 teaspoons Vadouvan Spice (see items I used)
Start by mixing the Shrimp, olive oil, salt, black pepper and Vadouvan spice in a large bowl.
Rub the spice into the shrimp.
Spread the shrimp in the air fryer basket or in the air fryer tray.
Set the temperature to 350 degrees F, for 5 minutes. Your shrimp should be pink, any other color means they are overdone.
Plate, serve and enjoy!