How to clean and peel prawns and prawns so that they look impeccable in your dishes (raw or cooked)


There is no doubt that prawns and prawns are the kings of the most popular seafood, and their presence is almost guaranteed at any celebration, Christmas or not. Although the easiest thing is to present them whole once cooked or grilled - let each diner manage as best they can - we will need to peel them for other preparations. The task can be somewhat cumbersome if good technique is not applied, although, like almost everything in the kitchen, it is a matter of practice and skill.

There is no single universal and valid method to properly peel prawns and prawns. They did not come to this world with an instruction manual, obviously, and each teacher has his booklet. Being an animal of which we find many varieties captured and raised all over the planet, the technique to peel its shell can vary in different gastronomic cultures. And the taste and custom of each cook.

Prawns can be peeled before and after cooking; raw or cooked. The method does not vary much from one preparation to another, although the intestine will come out more easily when the animal is still fresh and uncooked. The quality and freshness of the shrimp also guarantees us greater ease of peeling, as well as the point of doneness. If we have fallen short or have gone too far, removing the shell cleanly can be more complicated.

We are interested in leaving the meat as intact as possible, smooth and firm, without the head and without the legs, eliminating the black line that runs along the back; in English they usually refer to this step as devein, but we already know that it is not a vein: it is the gut that contains the animal's excrement.It is okay to eat them - no one usually removes it when they are grilled - but it is advisable to do so when they are peeled.

The end of the tail can be removed or left for aesthetic or practical purposes, to grab the crustacean without touching the meat and to be able to eat it with the hands. In other uses, it bothers more than it adorns and we recommend removing it.

How to peel raw prawns or prawns

The first step is always to remove the head. It can be done by a clean cut with a knife, or by pulling gently but firmly with the hand. It may help to do an up-down motion and slight twisting, while pulling with your fingers, and supporting your body with the other hand.

Then we have several options. There are those who choose to also cut the entire section of the legs, with a knife or scissors, although if the shrimp is of quality it is not necessary to take this trouble. Simply lift the first section of the shell with your finger and thus remove the first two, peeling them. The stripped end is then grasped and the tail is squeezed with the other; It only remains to pull firmly, but gently, to extract all the remaining shell.

Once the body is cleaned, it only remains to remove the intestine, if it is present. It usually pokes out of the end of the head, like a black dot; It may be enough to remove it with your fingers if it protrudes a few millimeters, but it is easier to use a toothpick, skewer or small sharp knife point. Holding the prawn straight, vertically, it is punctured and gently pulled upwards.

At other times it will be easier to access from the bottom, or, if it does not appear at any end, we can puncture in the middle of the back with the procheta to extract the gut there. In raw it should be elastic. If this step resists us or is too fine, we can always make a fine cut with the knife along the entire back; the gut will be exposed and it will be easy to remove it with the same edge.

With this last system, it must be taken into account that the shrimp will remain with the loin open in the shape of a butterfly when cooked, leaving an appearance that may be attractive for aesthetic purposes, but that is not always interesting.

How to peel cooked prawns or prawns

With the crustacean already cooked, the method can be practically the same, it will even be easier to remove the different pieces of the shell, if it has been cooked correctly. Once the head is removed, the layers or sections can be removed, as if they were plates, lifting them from below with a finger.

Another option is to cut the legs with the knife or tear them off with your fingers, make a cut across the entire lower body, and remove the entire shell in one piece, opening it like a book. The tail can be cut or removed by pulling it gently after breaking it.

To peel them without staining our hands we will need to place the animal on a plate or table. With the cucbillo the head is cut cleanly, all the legs and the tail are cut off, and the body is pierced with the fork in that clean lower part. All that remains is to insert a spoon or knife through the exposed part where the legs were, moving the utensil throughout the body to separate it, and remove it upwards.

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