One of the great things about taking a vacation to the beach is all the great seafood restaurants that abound. Whether you have a grouper sandwich at a coffee shop or lobster and oysters at an upscale restaurant, you’ll never run out of options for fresh, delicious seafood. While restaurants on the beach seem to have a magic touch when it comes to making seafood delicious, there’s no reason you can’t replicate the same results at home. Shrimp, for instance, is fairly easy to make. Start out with the freshest shrimp you can find and follow these simple instructions.

Prep The Shrimp

While you don’t necessarily need to remove the skin before you cook and serve shrimp, it makes them easier to eat. To remove the skin, grab it near the legs and pull it apart. If you start at the legs, it will be easy to slip off. Next, you want to devein the shrimp. This involves removing the long black strip that runs down the shrimp’s back. Use a sharp knife and make a tiny slit above the vein with just the tip of the knife. You can then rinse out the vein under running water or scrape it out with the knife tip.

Cook Shrimp Quickly

The secret to juicy and tender shrimp is to cook it quickly. If you cook it too long, it will get tough and chewy. It only takes a couple of minutes to cook shrimp. The exact time depends on the size of the shrimp. You can tell shrimp is cooked all the way through when the insides turn opaque. You can also test for doneness by holding the shrimp by the head with its tail pointing up. Stretch out the tail and let go. If the tail bounces back into a curl, the shrimp is done.

Try Various Cooking Methods

You can cook shrimp in a variety of ways. You can steam, boil, fry, or grill the shrimp. Each cooking method affects the taste of your meal. Grilling imparts a nice smoky flavor. If you want to grill the shrimp, it’s best to use skewers. Keep the shrimp in a curled shape and pass the skewer through the head and tail to hold them in place. Be sure to flip the shrimp half way through the cooking time, so both sides are grilled nicely. Shrimp can be seasoned with flavored oils, pepper, Cajun seasoning, butter, or any spices and oils you desire.

If you don’t have access to fresh shrimp, you can always buy frozen shrimp at your grocery store. Be sure to thaw it before cooking, so it develops the best texture. When you buy shrimp, match the size to the dish you plan to prepare. Small shrimp are great for adding to salads and casseroles, while large or jumbo shrimp are best if the shrimp is to be the main part of the meal. Shrimp pairs well with just about anything, so once you learn how to cook it well, you can breathe new life into your daily meals.