That bag of frozen, jumbo butterfly shrimp in your freezer marked “peeled and deveined,” might as well be marked “gold” on busy days when you want to assemble a quick shrimp cocktail dinner or use the shrimp to supplement another dish. Boiling is the easiest way to get shrimp on your table in a hurry, but that doesn’t mean it’s entirely foolproof. Watch the shrimp carefully so overcooking doesn't render it tough and rubbery, robbing it of its natural, juicy flavor.
Things You'll Need
- Large pot
- Salt and lemon juice (optional)
- Herbs (optional)
Place the shrimp in a colander. Most bags of jumbo shrimp contain between 16 and 20 shrimp.
Run cold water over the shrimp, moving them around in the colander, until the shrimp thaw. It may be tempting to skip this step and drop the shrimp directly into the hot water, but to preserve the quality of the shrimp and reduce the risk of overcooking, it’s better to take a few minutes to thaw it first.
Bring about 6 cups of water to a rolling boil in a large pot. Add some salt and lemon juice, if you like. Try some celery seed, dill or thyme or a store-bought “shrimp boil” packet for a different flavor.
Put the shrimp into the boiling water, cover the pot and reduce the heat to low-medium. Jumbo shrimp should take no more than 7 or 8 minutes to cook. A sure sign: they should be bright pink and floating on the surface of the water.
Drain the shrimp and water through a colander and immediately plunge the shrimp into a bowl filled with cold water and some ice cubes. This step – just like “shocking” vegetables – stops the shrimp from cooking further and turning rubbery.
Tips & Warnings
- Hang the cooked, jumbo shrimp over a bowl with a zesty cocktail sauce in the middle. Or add the shrimp to a platter of cooked linguine for a light, yet tasty meal.
- Seafood Health Facts.org: Seafood Choices
- Eat Shrimp.com: Nutritional Facts
- Sea Cuisine.com: What is the Best Way to Defrost Frozen Raw Shrimp?
- Heinz: Preparing the Perfect Shrimp Cocktail
- Texas Cooking: Shrimp: America's Favorite Shellfish
- What’s Cooking America: All Shrimp are Not the Same
- The Hungry Mouse: Shrimp Cocktail
- Photo Credit Jupiterimages/liquidlibrary/Getty Images