To celebrate National Shrimp Day, I stopped at the grocery and purchased some fresh Gulf shrimp.

As I was boiling my vegetables (corn and potatoes!), I headed the shrimp, and then remembered something a friend had shown me years back: remove the walking legs and what looks like the rib cage they are attached to from the head of the shrimp, and fry them.

You throw away all of the innards, and batter and fry the legs and the part that resembles a rib cage (I don't know what it is called), and it tastes like fried shrimp (gasp!).  Really, it's like eating fried fish tail fin or soft-shelled crabs.  Fry them crispy, and they taste like crunchy popcorn shrimp.

I love the idea of wasting less of the shrimp.

As I am writing this story, I am also doing an internet search for fried shrimp heads, and I fell into a rabbit hole of interesting recipes.  It appears that, in other countries, the WHOLE SHRIMP is fried and eaten, including the head, and not just the bits I spoke of in the above paragraphs.  On the Serious Eats website, one person explained the why the shrimp heads were considered so tasty:

in their armored shells you will find the hepatopancreas, the digestive organ that in lobsters and crabs would be called tomalley. - Chichi Wang, Serious Eats

Tomalley is what we call the "fat" found in crabs and crayfish and lobster.  It's not really fat, it's the digestive gland of the shellfish.  And we all know that crayfish and crabs taste better with more of the "fat".

On the Serious Eats website, the recipe calls for frying the shrimp whole, and then tossing them in with pan-fried garlic, green onion and red chili pepper flakes.  And then you eat the shrimp, head and all!

A quick search of Youtube brought me to this recipe, which calls for cooking raw shrimp heads in a garlic curry paste sauce:

So, would you try any of these recipes, or would you require the chef to remove the eyeballs first?

By the way, the boiled shrimp, potatoes and corn made my belly happy.

(Serious Eats, Youtube/Tasty Memories)