Recipe and tips for shrimp three ways – grilled, boiled and sauteed

Shrimp | Image Chef Mary @All Rights Reserved
Shrimp | Image Chef Mary @All Rights Reserved

LOS ANGELES, Calif. May 23, 2014 – Grilled shrimp is a delicious indulgence during the summer and it’s perfect to raise the bar at your Memorial Day party. Choosing, cleaning and cooking shrimp can be as easy as 1,2,3 if you know some basic techniques. After many years in the restaurant business and the bushels of shrimp prepared, a chef learns everything there is to know about shrimp.

Here are the basics of shrimp, to help you navigate through any fears of buying, prepping or cooking this special treat!


Shrimp | Image Chef Mary @All Rights Reserved
Shrimp | Image Chef Mary @All Rights Reserved


How shrimp should look: At first glance and smell a seafood counter should smell like the sea (seaweed), and not heavy ammonia or old fish smell.  Fresh shrimp will be firm to the touch, wet but not slimy, the shell is firmly attached to the meat of the shrimp and the shell will be slightly translucent.

Shrimp Varieties- Most common are Pink shrimp and Tiger shrimp. The Pink shrimp ranges in size of 3-4 inches and is most commonly used in shrimp cocktails.  It has gray with pink flecks on the exterior, while it’s raw and then when it’s cooked it turns bright orangey pink.

The Tiger shrimp is slightly larger and more expensive. The tiger shrimp varies from 6-12 inches. It has dark stripes along its shell while it’s raw and then when it cooks it changes to a pinky, white color as well.

Count- Shrimp is bought by the pound and the number represents how many shrimp are in that pound. For example if the count is 16/20; there will be between 16 and 20 shrimp in the purchase. The lower the count the larger the shrimp will be because it takes less of them to equal one pound.


Cleaning – Rinse the shrimp in cold water before they are peeled to remove the residual film from the seafood store. It’s best to rinse them in a colander so the shrimp can drip dry while the rest are being peeled.

Peeling – Decide whether the shrimp will be peeled before or after cooking in the planning stages of making the dish. If the shrimp is cooked with the peel on it will retain more flavor, but it’s not as easy to peel.

Peeling shrimp before it’s cooked will be easier for grilling and it will allow the vein to be removed and maintain a good presentation.

Peel before cooking:

Hold the legs and tail (be careful there is a sharp point hidden within the tail) of the shrimp.

Take a small pairing knife with your other hand and insert the tip of the knife where the head was and then run the blade along the back of the shrimp.

Stop before you get to the tail.

Use your finger to peel the skin off of the meat of the shrimp removing the legs as well as the shell.

Next at the back of the shrimp spread the cut open and use your fingers to pull the vein out of the shrimp.

Flip the shrimp so the tail is facing you and use your fingers to gently pull the sharp point from the tail.

Peel after cooking:

Hold the shrimp firmly in your hand.

With your other hand, use your thumb and pointer finger to grab hold of the legs and remove the legs and shell with a circular motion around the shrimp.

The vein should be left in for a cleaner presentation, but it can be removed with a small slit from the tail to the opposite end and using fingers to pull it from the meat of the shrimp.

Flip the shrimp so the tail is facing you and use your fingers to gently pull the sharp point from the tail.

Shrimp | Image by Chef Mary  @All Rights Reserved
Shrimp | Image by Chef Mary @All Rights Reserved


Grilled- Preheat a grill to a medium high heat. Season the grill with oil so the shrimp do not stick to the grates. The shrimp should be lightly coated with oil but not too much because then it will cause the fire to flare. Shrimp cooks on the grill best

Just in case you don’t want to grill your shrimp here are a few other ways:

Boiling– Bring a large pot of water (stock) to a boil (you can add seasonings, herbs and other ingredients to the liquid). In the mid-Atlantic area, Old Bay seasoning is popular in the water and generously tossed on the shrimp after cooking.

Next add your shrimp to the liquid; the liquid should be at least one to two inches above the shrimp.  Bring the liquid back to a boil and turn it down to a simmer and start the clock for 4-6 minutes. *Bigger or frozen shrimp may take longer.

Sautéing/steaming-Add the vegetables to the sauté pant and cook them until they are soft. Then add the cooking liquid and shrimp to the pan. Bring the liquid to a boil and cover the pan with a lid and cook them for 4-6 minutes.

*Bigger or frozen shrimp may take longer.

Plain Grilled Shrimp and Shrimp Ka-Bobs


1 pound large shrimp

2 tablespoons olive oil

salt and pepper

1 lemon


Heat your grill to a medium high heat and season your grill with canola oil.

Soak your wooden skewers in water.

Peel, rinse and dry your shrimp.

Skewer the shrimp through the tail and the meaty part of the shrimp.

Season them with salt and pepper.

Grill for 3 minutes on the first side and then flip and grill for 4 minutes on the other side.

You can alternate the shrimp with onion slices, chunks of fresh pineapple, peppers – let your imagination decide.

Remove the shrimp from the grill and toss them in a bowl with your olive oil and juice from your lemon or, if in Ka-Bobs brush the olive oil/lemon juice over the ka-bobs.


Lemon Grass and lime grilled shrimp


½ pound large shrimp

2 lemon grass minced

1 bunch chopped cilantro

1-tablespoon olive oil

Zest from 1 lime

2 teaspoons red chili flakes

2 cloves of garlic minced

Season grill with: ¼ cup of a high heat oil- vegetable, canola, or grape seed



Mix the garlic, olive oil, chili flakes, lemon grass, lime zest and a tablespoon of the copped cilantro creating a paste.

Preheat the grill to a medium high heat.

Mix the paste with the shrimp and let the shrimp sit for 10-15 minutes.

Skewer the shrimp on either metal skewers or soaked wooden skewers (to ensure they don’t burn)

Season the shrimp with salt

Season the grill and lay the skewered shrimp on the grill and cook for 3 minutes the flip and cook for another 3 minutes.

Top with cilantro to serve and squeeze a little limejuice on them


To learn more about Chef Mary, check out her Hail Mary’s, Inc. Web site. E-mail questions for Ask Chef Mary, click the Ask Chef Mary link above.

Follow Chef Mary

Twitter: @chefmarymoran


You Tube: Channel chefmpm


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Upon graduating from the California School of Culinary Arts in 2002, Chef Mary Payne Moran began her professional career shelling crabs at the world-renowned restaurant, Michael's in Santa Monica. Simultaneously, she launched her own company, Hail Mary’s, founded upon the belief that good food nurtures the soul, and began catering weddings, parties and large corporate events. In the fall of 2008, Mary began teaching her culinary skills to others. Currently she can be found at Hollywood School House teaching her after school cooking class, and teaching her popular "Vegetables or Not Here I Come" assembly. Most recently, Mary has launched another division in her company as well as a chef she is now also a Certified Nutritionist for high profile clients. She helps her clients discover their healthy way of eating. Mary has recently been published in the Los Angeles Magazine, & The New Jersey Star Ledger. Daily she addresses cooking aficionados through her blog - Cooking with Chef Mary as well as her how-to webisodes on You Tube.