How to Butterfly Shrimp: The Easiest Method
It might sound fussy, but learning how to butterfly shrimp is fairly simple. It’s a useful skill, too, because cut shrimp have more surface area to season or sear, which helps create a more flavorful, finished dish. And, depending on how you plan to serve your shrimp, you might be able to stretch your seafood budget by serving smaller cuts of shrimp spread throughout each plate.
Ready to get started? Here is a step-by-step visual guide to perfectly butterflied shrimp.
How to Butterfly Shrimp
1. Peel. Use your hands to peel the hard outer shell off of the shrimp. It’s easiest to start in the innermost concave curve of the shrimp, where the legs are or were, depending on how your shrimp were processed. Leave the tail intact.
2. Cut three-quarters of the way into the shrimp. Starting at the head and moving down the back to the start of the tail, use a sharp knife to cut an incision down the length of the shrimp. The depth of your incision should be about three quarters into the shrimp, so both halves remain connected. Be careful not to split the shrimp into two different pieces.
3. Devein. Use the tip of your knife to cut out the dark vein that runs the length of the shrimp’s back. Discard the vein.
4. Open like a book. Use your hands to open each shrimp as if it were a book, taking care not to split it into two pieces. Lay each butterflied shrimp flat.
That’s it! Your shrimp are now successfully butterflied and ready to cook and serve however you see fit.
Shrimp Recipes to Try
Put your butterflied shrimp to use in these recipes. Keep an eye on cooking times, however, because butterflied shrimp cook through more quickly than shrimp that are fully intact.