The Fruit of The Sea – Shrimp

“Shrimp is the fruit of the sea. You can barbecue it, boil it, broil it, bake it, sauté it. There’s shrimp kabobs, shrimp creole, shrimp gumbo. Pan-fried, deep-fried, stir-fried. There’s pineapple shrimp, lemon shrimp, coconut shrimp, pepper shrimp, shrimp soup, shrimp stew, shrimp salad, shrimp and potatoes, shrimp burger, shrimp sandwich. That – that’s about it.” – Bubba, Forrest Gump, 1994.


Bubba had it right. Shrimp is universally beloved, omnipresent in the cuisines of countries that rely on seafood as a source of protein. One can do just about anything with shrimp – and it tastes absolutely delicious to boot. There is a characteristic light and sweet flavour to freshly-caught shrimps that sing delicious songs of the deep blue sea.


Cooking shrimp right is no task for a genius. The important thing to remember is that one must always keep a close watch during the cooking process. The highly-revered French encyclopaedia, Larousse Gastronomique cautions against overcooking, as these delectable shellfish tend towards toughness when kept over the stove too long. Ask any seafood lover. You’ll discover, if you haven’t already, that no one likes an overcooked, rubbery shrimp.


Like so many other Mediterranean cultures, the French take on cooking seafood is strongly touched with the need to retain the natural flavour of the food. Unlike other Mediterranean cultures, however, the French also habitually incorporate butter and wine into their cooking, particularly with seafood and shellfish. The opulent fragrance of butter, coupled with the sharp tannin of wine serves to enhance the delicate flavour of shrimp. This style of cooking does little to alter the flavour of fresh seafood, however. In fact, the combination perfectly complements the ocean sweetness which is distinct only to shrimps of the highest standards.


It goes without saying, then, that the secret to a success when it comes to cooking shrimp is freshness. You may have noted that old shrimps are somewhat lacklustre in appearance, texture and taste. When raw, they are apt to fall apart and are slimy rather than shiny. These are the shrimps you do not want.


When choosing fresh shrimp, it is important to note that the firm-fleshed fellows with their heads intact, gleaming with the sheen of a fresh catch are best. Yet, the sad, but true fact is that fresh catches aren’t always available in marketplaces. This is particularly prominent in areas far from coastal shores, where seafood must travel some kilometres before reaching its predestined selling-place. Without proper processing and storage, your poor shrimps can only arrive in bad state – and no one’s impressed by the sight of a raw, nearly-headless shrimp.


Blue Archipelago understands the woes of badly shipped- and-stored shrimps. That’s why they harvest their shrimps early in the day, when the temperature and weather allows for the catch to feel right at home – thereby retaining both freshness and flavour. Because Blue Archipelago is passionate about serving their clientele only the best of the shrimps they have to offer, each step of the harvesting process carefully adheres to stringent rules and regulations. Every individual shrimp is checked for quality consistency, and it is only a matter of hours before they are cleaned, graded, sorted and frozen. From pond to harvest to transport to ice, Pelagos shrimps are kept in conditions that mirror their living environments. In this manner, the shrimps arrive at your table, frozen in a time when they had only just been freshly caught – no pun intended.


It comes as no surprise, then, that Pelagos Shrimps is highly accredited, widely recognised as a product of utmost quality. Their high-tech facility in Kerpan has received numerous certifications for aquaculture practices in their bid to champion the cause of sustainable fisheries. Among these are awards for Best Aquaculture Practices, as well as certificates by the Global Aquaculture Alliance as well as those of the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point. They are HALAL certified, allowing for muslim consumption of their shrimps without  any fuss or worry. Blue Archipelago has also met stringent requirements for export to European Union countries, in particular France. They have also been awarded global safety and quality standards known as the British Retailers Consortium (BCR) certification. This speaks strongly of their quality assurances. In addition to that, Pelagos shrimps are even exported to Japan, a nation many agree to be inflexible as far as fresh seafood is concerned.


If French cuisine is to be considered a stickler for freshness equal to that of the Japanese, then what better shrimp to use for this purpose than Pelagos’ prized prawns? For certainly, any cuisine that seeks to highlight the natural flavours of its foods is one that holds aloft an ideal of good, fresh ingredients. Pelagos fits that mould, oh-so-well.

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