- You can remove the vein without butterflying the shrimp. After peeling the shrimp, uncurl and press the belly against a flat surface. Pull the body straight, so the entirety of the shrimp makes a straight line. Then, using one hand to hold the shrimp in place, use the other to find the beginning of the vein at the head opening. Pinching the tip of the vein, pull ever so gently, you should be able to pull the whole thing out in one go.
- Now, your shrimp is cleaned and ready to cook! Our classic shrimp cocktail recipe is a great place to start.
A quick soak helps remove any grit under the shells. Just toss your crustaceans in a bowl of water and swoosh them around. Then, let the sediment drop to the bottom of the bowl, remove your shrimp, and pat them dry with paper towels.
Step 1: Rinse the shrimp
Find the spot on the shell where the head scale begins to overlap with the body. Grip on either side of this slit with your thumb and pointer finger. Then, twist and pull. The head should come right off. Shrimp heads are full of flavor, so set them aside for later.
Step 2: Remove the head
Starting at where the head used to be, dig your thumb underneath the shell and run it down the body of the shrimp. This should separate the shell from the flesh. Then, push your thumb up towards the spine, twist the body of the shrimp, and peel the rest of the shell (minus the tail) off. Some of the legs may not come off with the shell; a quick pinch and pull should take them right off.
Step 3: Peel the body
Depending on what you’re cooking, you may want the tail on or off your shrimp. If you’d like to remove the tail, find where the fins meet the base of the meat. Pinch and pull, while gently tugging the rest of the body away from the tail shell. Viola! Now you have a totally de-shelled shellfish.
Step 4: Remove the tail?
It’s called the vein, but the black strip running through the shrimp is actually the intestinal tract. It’s full of shrimp poop, so we definitely want to get rid of that. Run a paring knife down the spine, making sure to only cut about a ¼ of the way through the shrimp. Butterfly the cut open, and using the tip of your knife, dig under the vein, pull it out and toss it straight into the garbage bin. Finish up by giving the shrimp a final rinse under running water, and you’re good to go.
Step 5: Devein