Shrimp are very popular for their great taste, versatility and for their easiness and simplicity to
There are many varieties of shrimp. Sea or fresh water shrimp are selected by size and the larger they are the
higher is the price; farm-raised fresh water shrimp are usually grown to larger sizes.
Shrimp are packaged as colossal, jumbo, extra large, large, medium, small or other terms referring to their size,
but because there are no set standards and each packer or retailer uses its own criteria. Buy shrimp by their size
taking into consideration the way you will be cooking them. The number of shrimp contained in a pound is the only
real description of their size: the largest “under 10” and the large “12 to 15” count usually chosen for broiling,
baking or stuffing, “16 to 20” count mostly preferred by the restaurateurs are boiled and used in cocktails, to
sautéed as entrées or frying and other sizes “21/25” , 26/30 or “31/35”, scaling down to the very small baby shrimp
to make other dishes or salads.
Shrimp are sold frozen or thawed and because they are very perishable are rarely sold fresh. There are many species
of shrimp but they all turn pink when cooked. They come in various color, from white to red and in all shades of
When shopping, prefer sea water shrimp and make sure they have a pleasant smell of the sea; reject any shrimp
smelling like ammonia, iodine, or have any other strong odor. Avoid cooked frozen shrimp.
The prawns or scampi often associated with the shrimp come in many varieties. Those crustaceous are part of the
lobster family and the most common are the Norway lobsters or the Dublin Bay prawns. In Sicily the scampi are
called “Lempitu di Fangu”
that can be translated “Clinging to the Mud” and “Limpet or Lamprey of Mud” because they dig galleries under the
sea bottom where they live and come out at night to feed. In some parts of Sicily these crustaceous are called
and sometimes by other names. Scampi are mostly sold fresh and alive and are also available frozen. Their fine
meat, enjoyable taste and the scarce availability commends very high prices.
In the States and in most of the world scampi or prawns are referred to as large shrimp or as a popular preparation
also for shrimp, chicken and veal.
Gammarus is also caught in the Mediterranean Sea; it compares
to the American or Atlantic lobster present in the shallow ocean waters from Canada to the Carolines. Sometime, the
smaller size is incorrectly offered as Norway lobsters or Scampi.