Count is a measure of size. It refers to the approximate number of shrimp in a
pound--so the larger the count number, the smaller the shrimp.
Shrimp covers the gamut from the smallest (70-90 count) to the largest (8-12
To clean a shrimp, with a sharp knife, make a shallow cut along the back of the
shrimp, from head to tail. Peel off the shell and legs, leaving the shell on the
tail, if desired. To devein, hold shrimp under cold running water and remove the
sandy black vein running down the back of the shrimp.
1/2 C. vegetable oil
1/2 C. flour
1 3/4 C. chopped onion
3/4 C. thinly sliced scallions (green onions)
1/3 C. chopped celery
4 t. finely minced garlic
2 1/2 t. salt
1 t. freshly ground black pepper
1/8 t. cayenne pepper (or more to taste)
3 whole bay leaves, crushed
1 t. dried thyme
2 lb ripe (beefsteak, Jersey) tomatoes, coarsely chopped (about 2 1/2 to 3 C.)
3 C. water (or shrimp stock)
1 t. fresh lemon juice
2 lb. white potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes
2 lb. whole fresh shrimp, peeled and de-veined
In a heavy 6- to 8-quart pot or kettle, heat the oil and gradually stir in the
flour. cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until a medium brown roux (the
color of rich peanut butter) is formed (about 20 to 30 minutes). When the
desired color is reached, lower the heat immediately and add the chopped onion,
scallions, celery, and garlic. Stir thoroughly and cook over low heat for 10
minutes more, stirring constantly.
Add the salt, black pepper, cayenne, bay leaves, and thyme and mix well. Add the
chopped tomatoes, water (or stock), and lemon juice, then simmer for 1 hour,
stirring frequently. Add the cubed potatoes and simmer for 10 minutes longer.
Add the shrimp, cover the pot, and simmer over low heat for 10 minutes more or
until shrimp turn pink.
How to make shrimp stock...Peel the shrimp and save the shells. Rinse shells
with cold water and add to a pan. Cover with water and bring to a boil. Simmer
for 30 minutes. Strain and use in stew. Add water if necessary to make 3 cups.