Why You Should Save Your Shrimp Shells

If you peel your shrimp for a dish before you cooking, don’t throw away the shells. You might as well be dumping flavor down the drain. The exoskeleton is packed with rich sugars that easily react and infuse into water, which makes it a prime choice for the fastest stock you will ever make. After peeling the shells, melt butter in a saucepan and sauté shells until aromatic. Cover the shells with water and salt. Add any aromatics you have on hand, like shallots, bay leaves, or peppercorns. Bring everything to a simmer and reduce by a quarter of total volume.

We love using clam juice to finish dishes think of shrimp broth as its sweeter, less minerally sibling for deploying in stews, soups, and sauteés. Stumped for ideas? Here are just a few.

For a sweeter bouillabaisse, skip using store-bought fish stock (saving money’s always good) and use the shells of the shrimp you’ll use later.
Deglazing is one of our favorite kitchen techniques. We’ve used everything from vermouthto corn cob wine to deglaze a pan of shrimp and grits, which scrapes up the brown bits and amps up richness. But our favorite shrimp and grits deglazer? Shrimp broth, which adds some sweetness to the more aggressive flavors in this particular version, including andouille sausage and garlic.