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How do I know whether I should leave the shrimp tail on or take it off?

Photo: Van Chaplin; Styling: Vanessa McNeil Rocchio

Leaving the shrimp tail on or off may be a matter of personal preference, but here are a couple of things to keep in mind.

When you leave the tail on, the shrimp is easier to pick up. When I am serving shrimp as finger food (such as the Coconut Shrimp pictured on the left), I leave the tail on—it's like a built-in handle!

The tail also gives shrimp a pretty and more dramatic look, so if I want to highlight them in the dish, I will leave the tail on. But bear in mind that requires the diner to then cut it off, so if the entire dish is in bite-size pieces (not requiring cutting), I am more likely to remove the tail.

For more shrimp tips, watch our videos on How to Peel, Devein, and Butterfly Shrimp and see our collection of Shrimp Recipes.