One of my favorite types of sushi is ebi nigiri. The shrimp has a very nice slightly sweet flavor that goes very well with the rice and it also looks pretty. Although most people think of raw fish when they think of sushi, the shrimp is actually parcooked for this preparation. I’ve already explained how to make sushi rice and shape nigiri sushi in a previous post. In this post I will only deal with how to prepare the shrimp.
For this preparation it is important to buy raw shrimp with the shells on. It is not important to have the heads as well, although leftover shrimp heads are great to make shrimp stock for risotto or shrimp crackers.
Shrimp without the shells are usually curled and you want straight shrimp for this. Cooking the shrimp with the shells on also helps to give them a pretty pink color.
The right size for nigiri sushi for head-on shrimp is 20-30 per kilogram (10-15 per lb). They are usually sold frozen; defrost them in the refrigerator in 24 hours. It is okay if they are not completely defrosted for this preparation though, as long as you can insert the skewer.
Allow the shrimp to dry on paper towels. They are now ready to be used for nigiri sushi; see my post on homemade sushi for instructions.