Saturday, September 15, 2007
Prawn(or Shrimp) heads. What do those two words evoke as a response? Usually something like 'ew' or 'gross!'. For those who sneer at what is generally considered garbage have no idea about the many different ways to utilize these tasty treats. They aren't just things we eat cold with cocktail sauce at your local salad bar in which, I wouldn't eat in anyways.
Shrimp heads are used a lot in Cajun cooking, especially in Gumbo for a delicious stock because it adds depth, richness and complexity to the flavors. The head is where all of the flavor comes from in Prawns/Shrimp. Shrimp heads/shells are also used to make stock for Cioppino. All different cultures around the world utilize shrimp heads in one way or another. Deep-fried shrimp heads are pretty popular with a lot of people and they are tasty. We had bought maybe close to 20 Black Tiger prawns a few weeks ago for an Indian dish I made. I reserved the heads to make Shrimp stock for.......Sasha's food. Yes, she is one spoiled doggie. After I separated the stock from the heads, well, it was snacking time.
The inside of the heads. Suck out the juice and separate the legs from the carapace for tasty morsels. Check this other blog out for pictures of how to eat the heads such as the ones I cooked: http://zarzamora.blogspot.com/2005/04/3-ways-to-eat-shrimps-head.html
Like Anthony Bourdain said once while eating with buddy Eric Ripert (James Beard award winning chef of Le Bernardin in NYC )--'I don't know any chef who wouldn't like sucking the brains out of shrimp.' I completely agree and I'd include people who love to eat and experience good food on that list as well. Large prawns have a lot more meat in the head than smaller shrimp do. You can pull the legs out of the carapace and there will be tasty morsels of meat and varying textures and flavors.
For me, throwing any good part of any animal or fish away that can be used for something else really good is a crime and nothing but disrespectful to the thing(s) that died in order for you to eat and taste something so wonderful. You can create magic out of something that seemed like so little.
While I totally agree with W about not wasting any part of an animal, I do find fish heads and shrimps heads gross! It probably tastes good but I'm not used to it I just can't get past the eyeballs. I think a lot of it or most of it just has to do with what you are raised eating.