I love shrimp—grilled, fried, po’boyed, cocktailed, you name it. I was 100 percent behind that scene in Forrest Gump where Bubba rattles off an endless catalog of shrimp prep options (“you can barbecue it, boil it, broil it, bake it...”). As Bubba rightly points out, shrimp is “the fruit of the sea” and what a fine fruit it is (with an assist from butter and garlic or maybe a nice dark roux). My husband and I will probably enter our golden years still trying to decide who makes the best seafood gumbo on the planet. (We know they’re in Louisiana, but that hardly narrows it down enough, given the many gumbo incarnations there.) The only thing I don’t love about shrimp is cleaning them.
So when I saw an ad for a low-tech gizmo that promised to remove the shell, devein the shrimp, and butterfly it, I was on that like the proverbial duck on a June bug. Or maybe I should say like Tony Chachere’s on—who are we kidding—everything. I’ll admit that the Frogmore Shrimp Cleaner from Toadfish (BUY IT: $24; amazon.com) takes a little getting used to. I watched the video several times before I understood how it works, and then I went through several shrimp before I really got the hang of it. But the minute that lightbulb went off and the correct position and motion became natural—goodbye, tedious cleaning; hello, rice and a side of potato salad because gumbo’s a-comin’.
Smoked Turkey-and-Andouille Gumbo Recipe
This turkey and andouille gumbo recipe has won the World Championship Gumbo Cookoff three times.
The key to this easy-to-clean device is a tiny blade beneath the hooked end. As you push the Frogmore from head to tail, both the shell and the vein come off in an easy motion. (You’ll want to dodge that little blade with your fingers, which isn’t hard once you master the proper shrimp grip.) This tool is well made and looks like it will last. Break out the cast iron and crank up the Cajun music. Let’s get cooking.
BUY IT: $24; amazon.com