Shrimp scampi, shrimp newburg, shrimp paella, coconut shrimp, shrimp and cashews--there are myriads of dishes that highlight the versatility of shrimp. Frozen shrimp has found its way into almost every household freezer as one of the few seafoods that does not turn into mush when frozen. Many times, people think they are buying fresh shrimp from their grocery store but are actually buying frozen shrimp the fishmonger has thawed for the display case. Look for shrimp sized at least at 36 to 40 count per pound, preferably raw. Any smaller than that and you are dealing with salad shrimp, which are fine, just tiny and impossible to peel. Do a little math yourself and make sure that the thawed shrimp is not more expensive than the frozen packages, in which case the frozen will be fresher and cheaper.
Empty the package of frozen shrimp into a container of cold tap water. Let it sit for 10 minutes before adding fresh tap water. Within about 30 minutes, the shrimp should be thawed enough to peel.
Peel the thawed shrimp. By grasping the tiny little feet on the bottom and pulling up, the whole skin should peel off with the exception of the tail. Pull on the tip of the tail and it should slide off easily. If you notice the shrimp smells like ammonia or is mushy, discard it. If the shrimp was frozen properly, there should be no fishy smell.
Squeeze a little fresh lemon juice over the shrimp and discard the shells. They will smell up your kitchen quickly if not removed. Cover the shrimp and refrigerate it if you're not using them immediately.
The shrimp are ready for any recipe that calls for fresh or frozen shrimp.
It is recommended that they be used within six hours of being thawed as they are highly perishable.
At no time before cooking should they be left out of refrigeration for more than 10 to 15 minutes.