TO SAUTE SHRIMP
Happily, shrimp are not endangered and it is relatively easy to find shrimp that are safely sourced. The Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch, a great ecological watchdog, lists most shrimp from the Gulf of Mexico on their “avoid” list. “Good alternatives” include wild caught shrimp from the Pacific coast, including Alaska, most Canadian shrimp and shrimp caught with bottom trawls in the U.S. Atlantic. Northern shrimp caught in traps in Nova Scotia, Canada are their “best choices.” Check the Aquarium’s Seafood Watch website for more information about farmed and wild caught shrimp.
Sauteing shrimp is easy, fast and, in the summer, a good way to both produce a meal and keep your kitchen cool. Shrimp can be sautéed peeled or unpeeled, but if you are peeling them, most people prefer to leave the last section of the shell and the tail intact for aesthetic reasons. If you intend to saute them unpeeled, most still make a slit down the back of the shell with a sharp knife and devein them. You can saute shrimp of any size; the recipes that follow call for medium to large shrimp, but you can adjust the timing to accommodate larger or smaller shrimp.
When are they done? Raw shrimp begin grey, translucent and somewhat flabby but, after only a few minutes in a hot pan, become pink, opaque and firm. If unpeeled, their tails will turn bright red. Depending on the size of the shrimp, and how many you’ve put into the pan, the saute will take two to three minutes.
Leftovers can be stored refrigerated in an airtight container for up to two days. Keep in mind that, even if labeled “fresh” at your market, most shrimp have already been frozen once and thawed before selling. It’s best to use shrimp within a couple of days of purchase and not to refreeze them.