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Thread: How do you 'de-vein' shrimp?

  1. #1
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    Red face How do you 'de-vein' shrimp?

    OK, another embarassing question from.... me. I'm sure there's someone else who doesn't know this either!

    When a recipe calls for shrimp, peeled and deveined, what does that mean??? I understand about peeling the shells of the shrimp, but what's deveining, and how do I do it? I usually just peel the shrimp and let it go at that. Am I going to die?

  2. #2

    Re: How do you 'de-vein' shrimp?

    Originally posted by lisas3575
    Am I going to die?
    Only if you look closely enough..........

    I'm no expert on cleaning shrimp (just eating it), but if you look at the back of the shrimp, there's a thin black line that runs along the back. I suspect we don't want to know what it is, so lets just leave it at that.

    I've eaten undeveined shrimp (hah - I just made up a word) - I just couldn't think about it for too long......sorta like how I am about eating eggs.........

    Anyway, it's just "cleaner" to clean 'em. And there's a nifty little deshrimp deveining device that you can buy for a couple bucks, but I can't tell you how they work or how good they are. Sorry for such useless information.......it's Thursday night, I'm punchy, and probably shouldn't even be here............

  3. #3
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    A sharp paring knife tends to work for me....just make a slit at the top of the piece of shrimp, slice through to what I guess is the backbone of the shrimp and find the little black "thread" that runs along it. Then it's fairly easy to lift it out with the knife or maybe help it along with your fingers. Trial and error. I never deveined shrimp until I tried recipes that called for "halved" shrimp. After a few practice dishes, you can do it in your sleep.

    PS -- I got the idea for butterflied shrimp from the Julee Rosso Fresh Start cookbook I mentioned on a previous thread (I think from the "Other stuff" bb.) She recommends slicing shrimp in half to kind of pump up the volume of shrimp dishes. There was a good restaurant we used to go to when I was a kid that offered french-fried butterflied shrimp, so I just adapted the technique. Slice almost through the back of the shrimp and then use in your favorite recipe. You'd be surprised how much more you think you are eating because the shrimp appear so much bigger in the dish!

  4. #4
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    I'm pretty sure I know what that little black line up the back of the shrimp is -- Sandy, avert your eyes now if you don't want to know ....

    it's the shrimp's intestine, or digestive tract, or whatever they call the thing that gathers shrimp-poop.

    So, you probably really do want to remove that vein. I've heard that you can get by without deveining if you're dealing with very small shrimp.

    They do sell a special deveining tool. I usually use the tine of a dessert fork -- I just sorta "score" along the vein and then use the end of the tine to lift the icky black thing out. (But I'm sure if I keep reading this thread, someone will post something about the world's best shrimp deveiner, or the type of deveiner Alton Brown uses, or how they just can't live without their PC shrimp deveiner, and before I know it, I'll be scouring kitchen stores in search of one. )

    Anyway, it is a little time consuming, but with seafood, I think it's better to err on the side of caution. I often spend the extra money to get them peeled and deveined at the store.

    Helene
    "We reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals. Our founding fathers, faced with perils we can scarcely imagine, drafted a charter to assure the rule of law and the rights of man, a charter expanded by the blood of generations. Those ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for expedience's sake."
    --President Barack Obama, 1/20/09

  5. #5
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    Helene, rest easy. Those wonderful folks at Cook's Illustrated say that a paring knife works just as well as a deveining tool. So take the money you've saved and splurge on your vice of choice. Of course, I think that's probably only $1.89 you have to blow on something decadent.
    Susan

    So many books--So little time.

  6. #6
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    If you don't happen to see the black line along the back, it could be that the store has already deveined them. I've noticed the last few times I bought shrimp that they were already deveined, but never noticed that in that past. Maybe this is a new thing they are doing.

  7. #7
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    I love shrimp, but hated deveining them until I started using a deveiner. I used the paring knife method for years, but it aways seemed difficult and messy. So, I bought this:



    It works great, and in half the time of the paring knife method (for me anyway!)

    It is not PC or an Alton Brown speciality, but I like it! Gina
    Change your mind, change your body

  8. #8
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    I highly recommend getting a deveiner. I bought one at the grocery several years ago, it's a cheap red plastic thing and it makes doing this soooo easy!

    Just run the device through the back of the shrimp and it splits the shell and removes the vein all in one sweep. Just pull the shell off and rinse the shrimp. (So much easier than a pairing knife)

  9. #9
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    Another paring knife user here. But lately, I haven't needed it; both TJs and the local fish monger here sell deveined shrimp.

  10. #10

    Cool

    My shrimp deveiner thingie (the one from Williams-Sonoma) is my favorite gadget. But in all honesty, it's less an issue of ease for me than it is of coordination and safety. I'm not much good with paring knives, and knives have a tendency of getting away from me. So far-- and I've been using this gizmo for probably ten years-- I haven't wounded myself with it yet and can now shell shrimps very quickly.

  11. #11
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    I have a deveiner, but if looks different from the one posted. It works well - cut through the shell and really makes it effortless. However, I admit to cheating and buying deveined shrimp at the store.

  12. #12
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    Originally posted by laden
    I highly recommend getting a deveiner. I bought one at the grocery several years ago, it's a cheap red plastic thing and it makes doing this soooo easy!
    Another vote for the cheap red plastic thing!
    I had to use a paring knife at another persons' house a few weeks ago (I volunteered before I knew that there was no "plastic thing"-- am I a good guest or what?) and it took three times as long. I also like to do the deveining under a slow stream of cold water to wash away that "stuff" before I can think about what it is and exactly what I'm doing!!!
    Vicci


    Can't you just eat what I put in front of you? Do you have to know what it is?
    Ria Parkinson, Butterflies (BBC, 1978-83)

  13. #13
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    Originally posted by HRJ
    ... (But I'm sure if I keep reading this thread, someone will post something about the world's best shrimp deveiner, or the type of deveiner Alton Brown uses, or how they just can't live without their PC shrimp deveiner, and before I know it, I'll be scouring kitchen stores in search of one. ) ... Helene
    As for Alton: He actually suggests using a small pair of scissors! (Snip through the shrimp, shell and all, all along the 'spine')I've tried it a few times, with an ancient (retired) pair of embroidery scissors, and liked it quite well.

    He suggests using this method when getting ready to broil shrimp, and recommends leaving the peel on while broiling.

    I love this technique, and the flavor that shrimp get from being broiled.

    I also have better 'luck' (less frustration) when I work with the shrimp in a bowl of water. The shrimp guts seem easier to work with that way.
    Anna
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    A fruit is a vegetable with looks and money.
    Plus, if you let fruit rot, it turns into wine,
    something Brussels sprouts never do.
    P. J. O'Rourke, humorist
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

  14. #14
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    I spied a cheap shrimp de-veiner at the fish market yesterday and bought it. Since "patient" isn't a word my friends would use to describe me, I told myself to try it on more than just one or two shrimp to get the hang of it. After having cleaned only five shrimp in about five minutes, I gave up and went back to my paring knife.

  15. #15
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    How to de-vein shrimp...

    Ask a Sydneysider "Another shrimp on the barbie?" about shrimp/ prawns ...

    This sounds gross, but "trust me". OK, make a slit at the head end, and push one side of a *NEW and CLEAN* simple hair clip/side (we call them "bobby pins) under the black, gooey stuff and pull carefully. The innards should come away.

    Still, shrimp/ prawns cook better and more evenly cooked if "butterflied." So, you are probably better slitting up the back vein with a paring knife and pulling out the black goo with either a "bobby pin", the tip of your knife or your clean fingers.

    IMHO, you don't need the expensive gadgets for deveining shrimp. You've got what you need already.

    .../maree.

    PS. Discard bobby pin after use!

  16. #16
    Cute, Maree!!!

    Question - how do you pronounce your name? Is it like "MAH-ree", or "ma-REE" (as in Marie)? Or neither?

  17. #17
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    Thumbs up

    Yeah for scissors that's the only thing I've ever used, I like small ones easier to handle. I always keep a set hidden in the kitchen so my loving family won't use them. I also use them for cutting up fresh herbs. I'm sure I couldn't live without them

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