Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Cooking Term--Shrimp, Prawn, Langoustine

Langoustine: French word for Prawn

Prawn: There is a great deal of confusion about this term because it's used to describe several different SHELLFISH. 1. The meat has a sweet, delicate flavor that some claim is better than either lobster or shrimp. These "prawns" are 6 to 8 inches in length and have pale-red bodies deepening to dark-red tails. 2. A second definition applies to the freshwater prawn (identified by the Latin name Macrobrachium ); the term distinguishes SHRIMP as living in salt water and prawns as freshwater creatures. In truth, these prawns migrate (much like salmon) from salt water to fresh water to spawn. They look like a cross between a shrimp and a lobster, with their bodies having narrower abdomens and longer legs than shrimp.

Shrimp: This delicious CRUSTACEAN is America's favorite SHELLFISH. There are hundreds of shrimp species, most of which can be divided into two broad classifications — warm-water shrimp and cold-water shrimp. As a broad and general rule, the colder the water, the smaller and more succulent the shrimp. Shrimp come in all manner of colors including reddish- to light brown, pink, deep red, grayish-white, yellow, gray-green and dark green. Some have color striations or mottling on their shells. Because of a heat-caused chemical change, most shrimp shells change color (such as from pale pink to bright red or from red to black) when cooked. Shrimp are marketed according to size (number per pound), but market terms vary greatly from region to region and from fish market to fish market. Keeping that variance in mind, the general size categories into which shrimp fall are: colossal (10 or less per pound), jumbo (11-15), extra-large (16-20), large (21-30), medium (31-35), small (36-45) and miniature (about 100). In the United States, jumbo and colossal shrimp are commonly called "prawns," though the PRAWN is, in fact, a different species.