Recently, at the dinner table, I made one of my favorite shrimp dishes (more on that later.) We were eating it and I left the shrimp tails on as I always do. We ate the dish and left the tails on the side of the plate, as we always do. It got me thinking, “are shrimp tails edible?” Before I bit in, there was research to be done.
Turns out, they are edible and they are delicious.
The shrimp tail is full of flavor and a popular addition to many cuisines including northeastern Chinese and Thai. Some studies have shown that the fibrous substance found in the shells and tails called Chitin has been discovered to lower cholesterol. They are also a great source of fiber.
Still not sold on trying them? They are some great benefits to leaving the tail on for cooking, not just eating. So, when should they be left on and and when should they be left on the cutting board? When deep fried and crispy with the coating on they can be eaten. They are seasoned and begging to be eaten. Traditional Shrimp Cocktail has the tails on as it serves as a handle when dipped in cocktail sauce. Boiled, they become chewy and tough to eat. In a saucy dish they are best left off as it’s a burden for the diner to find and remove the tails.
So back to the shrimp dish shrimp cucumber salad over orzo. Tails on or off, it’s delicious.
Orzo with Cucumber and Shrimp
Refreshing and simple, give this dish a try for a weeknight meal.
- 2 cloves garlic finely chopped
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1 lb. shrimp peeled and deveined
- Salt and Pepper
- 1 1/2 cup orzo
- juice and Zest of 2 Lemons
- 1/4 cup flat leaf parsley chopped
- 1 large cucumber peeled and chopped
Combine 2 tablespoons of olive oil and one clove of garlic in a non reactive bowl. Season with salt and pepper and add shrimp. Set aside while you prepare cucumbers.
Combine zest and juice of lemons, remaining ½ cup of olive oil, parsley, and cucumber in a bowl.
Put water on to boil and cook orzo as directed.
Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Cook until pink and opaque.
In a large bowl, combine orzo and cucumbers. Top with cooked shrimp.