Shrimp | CUESA

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Shrimp are classified as crustaceans, making them closely related to crab and lobster, though they don’t bear many similarities in looks, taste, or anatomy. Shrimp has long muscular tails, slender, virtually meatless legs, and a much thinner shell. In contrast, the legs of crab and lobster are strong and made for walking, providing a substantial amount of meat for consumption.

Shrimp is one of the most commonly eaten seafood in the U.S., so it is subject to stringent regulations. U.S. shrimp trawlers must adhere to stricter environmental standards than those in most other countries. U.S. shrimp trawlers are required by law to use bycatch reduction devices (BRDs) to limit the amount of unwanted catch. This makes U.S. wild-caught shrimp a “good alternative,” according to Seafood Watch, while imported wild shrimp is on Seafood Watch’s “avoid” list. Imported shrimp may also come from farmed sources and should also be avoided due to the varying and often unknown environmental impact.

While shrimp are commonly available frozen, fresh shrimp have a delicious taste that diminishes in the freezing process. The head, shell, and tail are usually removed before eating, and can make a good foundation for a rich seafood stock. To devein shrimp for a cleaner flavor, cut a line down the back with a small knife and pull the vein out.

Shrimp has a light, sea-brine taste and firm, resilient texture. They are good in Italian pasta or Asian noodle dishes (like fettuccine alfredo or pad thai) or fried and served with cocktail sauce.

Recipes with Shrimp

Puerto Rican’ish Shrimp and Polenta

Illyanna Maisonnet, EatGordaEat

Shrimp Dumplings and Vegetable Miso Soup

Yu Min Lin, The Sea at Alexander’s Steakhouse

Creole Remoulade with Shrimp and Summer Squash

Justin Simoneaux, Boxing Room

Shrimp and Pork Spring Rolls with Peanut Sauce

Charles Phan, The Slanted Door


CUESA (Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture) is dedicated to growing thriving communities through the power and joy of local food. Learn More »