Best Shrimp To Buy For Shrimp Cocktail
Have you ever had shrimp cocktail in a restaurant and wondered why it's so much better than the rings from grocery stores or what you made at home? Today I'm going to show you all the secrets to making the BEST Shrimp Cocktail and Cocktail Sauce at home.
best shrimp to buy for shrimp cocktail
This used to confuse the heck out of me when I was shopping, but I've since learned their secrets. Shrimp are categorized two different ways, which should mean the same thing but unfortunately not everyone uses the same standard size names for the same size shrimp (Publix's definition of Large shrimp is VERY different than my personal one).
You want defrosted or fresh shrimp, raw either way. Make sure the shrimp do not have any tears in them and still have their tails attached. If you are buying from a seafood counter, mention to the fishmonger that you are using the shrimp for cocktail, and they will usually pick out some pretty ones for you.
Yep. It sure is! In fact, the shrimp you are buying from the "fresh" seafood counter probably came in frozen! If you have access to fresh shrimp, I say support your local fishermen and buy it! But if not, frozen shrimp will do just fine. You will need to defrost them first though.
Easily the worst part of making any shrimp dish: the deveining. First, make sure you peel the shrimp, removing the legs and body shell but leaving the tails on. This is fairly easy since the tail shell is much stronger than the shell of the rest of the shrimp, so you can rip off the legs and peel off the body shell right up until the tail shell without worrying about tearing the entire thing apart.
To devein, place the shrimp on a flat surface. Use a paring knife, or if you have one, a shrimp knife, score the back part of the shrimp - aka the part opposite of where the legs were. This will expose the innards of the shrimp. Simply take your finger and pull it out. Once you have deveined all the shrimp, give them a rinse to get any residue from the deveining off.
Cooking shrimp is fast business - so make sure you are at the ready! Fill a large pot with water and aromatics like lemon, peppercorns, bay leaves, etc. (scroll down to the recipe to see what I prefer.) . Then drop in peeled, deveined, tail-on shrimp.
For a small group, fill a martini glass with cocktail sauce and line up the shrimp around the edge of a glass, hooking them along the rim.You can easily set up multiple martini glasses of shrimp for an impressive display!
For a larger group, fill a serving bowl with ice. Nestle a bowl or two of cocktail sauce in the ice. Scatter shrimp over the ice, and garnish with a layer of cut parsley and lemon. Be sure to place the ice bowl on something waterproof, like a sheet pan or several thick towels with a plastic bag beneath them to protect your table.
There is a trick! And if you do it wrong, my mother will judge you heavily and openly, so best get it right. When eating tail-on shrimp, you don't want to leave any meat behind! How do you get that last precious bite of meat out of the tail without looking like an animal or busting out a utensil?
Firmly grasp the tail between two fingers, partially holding the fanned out part of the tail, partially holding the shell containing the meat. As you bite into the meaty part of the shrimp, pinch and twist with your fingers while you bite and pull with your mouth. BOOM! You'll get the entire shrimp! Bonus: you'll have the smug satisfaction of looking like a well seasoned shrimp eater.
Believe it or not many restaurants use precooked, shelled and deveined frozen shrimp for their shrimp cocktail. And without even mentioning the quality issues, the real problem comes in when they defrost the already cooked shrimp.
The best shrimp to use for shrimp cocktail will be caught in the Gulf of Mexico, the Atlantic Ocean on the east coast of the US, and the Pacific Coast of the US. You can also get amazing shrimp from Australian waters and from parts of the European Union.
However, if you want an ultimate shrimp cocktail, like those steakhouse appetizers, you need to do a bit more. Not much more, mind you. Homemade shrimp cocktail is still surprisingly simple to do. Learn everything you need to know below.
First, to make restaurant-quality shrimp cocktail, you need a great-tasting cocktail sauce. If you buy one that you like, you can use that. I find the ones from the store to be a bit bland so I either make my own, or I add to them with some horseradish sauce and hot sauce.
For a really great shrimp cocktail, you want to go with large shrimp. I use a 21-25 count, which means there are 21-25 shrimp per pound. Buy them deveined but uncooked. Easy-peel or already peeled is fine.
Easy-peel shrimp have had the peel cut down the outside to get out the vein and then there is a cut around the tail. This makes it easy to remove the peel while leaving the tail intact. You want the tail because it makes a nice presentation and acts as a handle for your shrimp.
While the shrimp are cooking, fill a large bowl with cold water and a lot of ice. Once the shrimp are cooked, remove them from the hot water (leave the aromatics behind and discard them after). You can use a slotted spoon or pour them through a colander. Then put the drained shrimp into the bowl of ice water and let them chill completely. After that, you can serve them immediately or drain them and refrigerate for up to 12 hours before serving.
If you prefer step-by-step instructions with pictures, get your poaching shrimp how-to here. You can also poach shrimp from frozen, which is actually my favorite way to cook shrimp for many preparations. I tend to buy my shrimp frozen so this is really convenient, and it works amazingly well.
Preparing shrimp for my family has always been a source of stress, as crazy as that may seem. This recipe, however, was just perfect! Well-written, easy and fast. The shrimp cocktail was beautiful, and delicious! Thank you so much for the confidence builder!
Great shrimp cocktail recipes are all about the little things. Namely, guidance on the right shrimp for the job, how to cook them perfectly, and how best to achieve the classic balanced but zingy sauce. This one from former BA staffer Molly Baz gets all of those details right. (Catch her making the recipe.)
No matter the size, cooking the shrimp with their shells on is key to keeping them tender. Also crucial: getting the poached shrimp into an ice water bath fast; dropping ice into the cooking liquid makes that simple. While the shellfish cool, make the cocktail sauce with horseradish, Tabasco, lemon, and Heinz Chili Sauce, which has a lot more going on flavor-wise than ketchup. (For a completely different feel, serve the shrimp with aioli or alongside guacamole with lime juice, cilantro, and some tortilla chips.)
Scoop 8 cups ice into a large bowl; set aside. Combine salt, sugar, and 6 cups water in a large saucepan. Cut lemons in half, squeeze juice into pot, and toss in lemon halves. Bring liquid to a boil, stirring to dissolve salt and sugar, then remove pot from heat. Add shrimp and poach, uncovered, 3 minutes.
Immediately add reserved ice to saucepan to rapidly chill the liquid and stop the cooking. Let shrimp sit in ice bath 10 minutes. Drain, pat dry, and peel. Pat dry again. Cover and chill until ready to serve.
Here's an overview of what you'll do to make the best shrimp cocktail recipe ever. You can see the steps in action in the video that accompanies this post, and get all the details in the recipe card below.
Hi, Gene. I'm sorry you had that experience. That said, three minutes should not be too little time to poach the shrimp, even if they're very large. Were they still translucent? One of the benefits of this recipe is that the shrimp stay quite tender and don't get rubbery the way boiled shrimp do. They will be fully opaque when properly poached, but not overly firm.
Impress everyone with a homemade Shrimp Cocktail. Learn how to make the best oven-baked shrimp and zesty shrimp cocktail sauce. This is so much better than a store-bought shrimp ring.
Just like our Shrimp Ceviche appetizer or Pico De Gallo, this roasted shrimp and cocktail sauce tastes even better the next day after the flavors meld so this is an excellent make-ahead recipe. Watch the video tutorial below and see how easy this is.
The extra-large shrimp (16-20 count per pound) look best in a shrimp cocktail ring. This recipe also works great with the large shrimp (18-25 counts per pound). We recommend 2 lbs of shrimp to feed a crowd. Look for fresh or frozen shrimp that is:
Shrimp Cocktail is impressive enough to serve at your New Years Party, for game-day, or when you need to satisfy that fierce craving for shrimp (remember you can make it ahead and it keeps well in the fridge).
Thaw shrimp according to package instructions, then rinse under cold water and thoroughly pat dry with paper towels. Place shrimp on a large rimmed baking sheet, drizzle with 1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil and sprinkle on 1/2 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp black pepper. Stir to combine then arrange shrimp in a single layer.
Bake at 450F for 8-10 min or until shrimp turn pink and are just cooked through.* As soon as they come out of the oven, test a shrimp for doneness then transfer all shrimp to a serving platter. If they stay on the hot baking sheet, they can get overcooked.
Combine all of the Cocktail Sauce ingredients, adding horseradish and hot sauce to taste (Add more if you love cocktail sauce with a spicy kick and less if you prefer a mild sauce). Cover and refrigerate sauce and shrimp for at least an hour or overnight. Serve chilled.
Natasha, I really love all of your recipes and I trust that they will come out great. I made the shrimp and cocktail sauce exactly the way your recipe says for Christmas day appetizer for 20 people and it was a hit!! Thank you so much.
Hi Priscilla, It could be due to the size of shrimp used. Smaller shrimp tend to curl up more. Also, make sure you use raw shrimp and cooking pre-cooked shrimp will cause them to shrink and become rubbery. 041b061a72