Recipe: PERFECTLY COOKED SHRIMP FOR COCKTAIL
- 1-1 1/2 pounds shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 1/2-3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, unless using tiger shrimp or any shrimp soaked in sodium bisulfite
Lightly sprinkle shrimp with salt. Bring 1 inch water to a boil in a large (at least 10 to 11 inches in diameter) covered deep skillet or large soup kettle. Arrange shrimp on a collapsible steamer basket as shown (shrimp will cling to side of basket as it collapses to fit into pan). If using an electric stove, reduce heat to low. Remove lid from pan, set steamer basket in pan, and replace lid. Turn heat to low. Depending on shrimp size, set timer as follows:
Colossal (12 or less per pound): 6-8 minutes
“16/20s” (16-20 per pound): 51/2-7 minutes
Jumbo (21-25 per pound): 5-6 minutes
Large/medium (31-35 per pound): 4-5 minutes
When timer goes off, lift pan lid. If shrimp are opaque throughout, remove basket from heat. If they are almost fully cooked, turn off heat, cover, and let stand for another 2 minutes.
Refrigerate until well chilled, then arrange on a serving platter or individual plates and serve with cocktail sauce alongside.
For Tiger Shrimp
Since tiger shrimp are farm-raised in fresh water, the muddy flavor needs to be replaced with the briny flavor of the sea. This can be accomplished by soaking the shrimp in a salt-sugar brine.
For 1 1/2 pounds shrimp, dissolve 1 cup kosher salt and 2/3 cup sugar in 2 cups boiling water. Once salt has more or less dissolved, add 6 cups ice water. Soak shrimp, peeling them as they brine, for 20 to 25 minutes. Drain, rinse, and continue with step 2 of Perfectly Cooked Shrimp for Cocktail.
For Shrimp Heavily Treated with Sodium Bisulfite
Soak 1 1/2 pounds shrimp in room-temperature tap water for 25 to 30 minutes, peeling them as they soak. Drain, rinse, and continue with step 2 of Perfectly Cooked Shrimp for Cocktail.
IF YOU’RE UNSURE about the kind of shrimp you’ve purchased or uncertain whether they need to be brined, soaked, or salted, then start by microwaving just one of the shrimp (it should be fully cooked in about 15 seconds) and tasting it. If it is bland and muddy, follow brining instructions for tiger shrimp. If it tastes overly salty, follow soaking instructions for sodium bisulfite-treated shrimp. If it tastes sweet and pure with no off flavors, lightly season with salt and continue.
Serves 6 to 8