To start on your ideal shrimp selection quest you need to know about the different types and sizes of shrimp. There are thousands of varieties of shrimp but the most popular are brown, pink, and white shrimp from the Atlantic ocean. These names describe the color of the shrimp before they are cooked.
Tiger shrimp is another popular type; its name comes from their dark stripes. Before cooking tiger shrimp is not pink, but a bluish-white. When they are cooked, the color changes into a color ranging from pink to bright orange-red. When cooked, they are difficult to distinguish from other varieties.
Also becoming popular is rock shrimp. These have a very hard shell like rock, hence the name. The flavor and texture is similar to spiny lobster. Headless rock shrimp look a lot like a miniature lobster, but the largest variety being sold is under 2 inches long.
Shrimp are usually in size by count, which means the average number of shrimp that are needed to weigh one pound. The smaller the shrimp, the larger the number, so if you want bigger shrimp look for the lower count number.
Sometimes, jumbo shrimp are called prawns, but a prawn is biologically a different species. In most recipes, shrimp and prawns can be interchanged without any difference in the resulting dish.
Determining how many to serve will depend on the size, but usually a single serving will use between 1/3 to 1/2 pound of raw shelled shrimp per person (double this amount with shell and head on (HOSO). As a rule, the colder the water, the smaller and more succulent the shrimp.
For one, main-course serving using sized shrimp you'd need:
- 4 jumbo shrimp
- 5 extra large shrimp
- 7 large shrimp
- 9 medium shrimp
The number per pound for size terms commonly used in the US are
- 10 shrimp or less = Colossal
- 11 to 15 = Jumbo
- 16 to 20 = Extra-large
- 21 to 30 = Large
- 31 to 35 = Medium
- 36 to 45 = Small
- about 100 = Miniature.
If you're hungry for more details about shrimp see our Shrimp Facts