America's favorite seafood is shrimp, yet most people know little about them other than they come in sizes from small to jumbo.

Although wild fresh shrimp is sometimes sold at fancy fish stores, 90 percent of the shrimp sold in the U.S. is farm-raised, frozen and imported. This includes the sweetest, most tender shrimp you eat in restaurants.

Hundreds of shrimp varieties exist, but just four major categories are sold in this country: white, pink, brown and tiger. Tigers, mostly farmed in Asia, have a distinctive banded shell and are the most popular. They are also usually the blandest and toughest. White shrimp from Latin America are usually the sweetest and firmest, but whites from China can be watery and mushy. If white shrimp's origin is not posted with the price, ask. Brown shrimp, the most popular in the South, can taste of iodine, and pinks, although pleasant, might also have a tinge of iodine flavor.

As for size, jumbo shrimp look impressive but medium-size shrimp cost less and go further in a meal. Since virtually all shrimp is frozen, why not save further by buying it that way? Frozen shrimp can be excellent if defrosted in the refrigerator.

Buy and cook shrimp in the shell, which not only preserves flavor but adds to it. One pound of medium shrimp is adequate to serve four people. To avoid over-cooking, remember that shrimp continue to cook after removed from the heat source, so remove them as soon as they color brightly and start to curl.

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Caribbean Shrimp Salad

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Makes 4 servings.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 lb. medium shrimp
  • 2 large plum tomatoes, seeded and chopped
  • 1 cup canned black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 mango, chopped
  • 1/3 cup chopped red onion
  • 1 small jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 cups loosely packed (6 large) red lettuce leaves

Directions

  • Bring 2 quarts of water to boil in large saucepan. Add shrimp and cook until they turn pink and curl, 3 to 4 minutes. Drain and peel. Halve shrimp crosswise, and place in a mixing bowl.
  • Add tomatoes, beans, mango, onion, jalapeno pepper and the orange and lime juices. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Tear lettuce into bite-size pieces and divide among 4 plates. Top each with one-fourth of the shrimp mixture and serve.

Nutritional Information Per Serving:
162 calories,
2 g. total fat (less than 1 g. saturated fat),
20 g. carbohydrate,
16 g. protein,
5 g. dietary fiber,
294 mg. sodium.

Diabetic Exchanges: 2 Vegetable, 1 Bread/Starch, 2 Lean-Meat


AICR