"Want some sea food, mama! Shrimpers and rice, that's very nice!"
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(Decapoda Crustacea, suborder Natantia)
This yummy little marine crustacean swimmer is found in most coastal areas. Like the prawn, lobster, and crayfish, to which it is related, it has 10 jointed legs--with swimmerettes on the abdominal segments. The exoskeleton is flexible, not calcified, usually grayish, and translucent or transparent--but turns bright pink when it is heated.
There are too many species to list, but one of the most well known is Crangon crangon--the small brown shrimp fished in Europe and the Mediterranan--and its related Crangon franciscorum in California and the northeast Pacific. The tiny shrimp fished in southeast Asia are made into blacang, a fermented shrimp paste used as seasoning throughout the region.
So what's the difference between shrimp and prawns? Mainly a linguistic one. A United Nation's catalogue explains:
If you're peeling the shrimp for a recipe, don't throw out the shells. Tossed in a little hot oil til crispy, then steeped in simmering water, they make a wonderful stock.