It’s really all about taking a simple dish and making it look like a million dollars. I mean we eat with our eyes first, right? This is my Shrimp Cocktail.
When I make Shrimp Cocktail for an appetizer, I like to buy the extra-large jumbo shrimp. When you’re buying shrimp, you’ll notice a number underneath the price, there are numbers like 16 to 20, or 8 to 10. These numbers let you know about how many shrimp are in a pound. The smaller the numbers, the larger the shrimp.
I like to leave the tails on. This allows you to have something to hold onto while dipping. I also like to steam my shrimp instead of boiling them. Sometimes I may even roast them.
Once I’ve cleaned and prepared the shrimp, I season them simply with Kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper, and garlic powder. In a large mixing bowl give them a good toss, making sure they all are nice and coated. I have a pot that has a removable basket with a glass lid. I like the glass lid for this because it allows me to know the second the shrimp are ready.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Inactive Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 4 to 5 minutes, per batch
Total Time: 55 minutes
Equipment: paring knife, steamer, large mixing bowl, rimmed baking sheet pan
2 pounds extra-large jumbo shrimp (8 to 10 count per pound), cleaned, deveined, and the tails remain
1 1/2 tablespoons Kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons of garlic powder
Favorite cocktail sauce
Garnish with lemon slices
Garnish with leafy greens
Use a paring knife to cut up the back end of each shrimp, exposing the vein if there is one. Rinse out any dirt or vein with cold water. Leave the shell to the tail on each one.
Once I’ve cleaned and prepared the shrimp, transfer the shrimp to a large mixing bowl. Season simply with Kosher salt, freshly cracked black pepper, and garlic powder and toss to coat. The amount of seasoning may seem like a lot but, most of the seasoning will fall off during the steaming process.
Use a steamer with a removable basket and a glass lid. The glass lid allows you to know the second the shrimp are ready.
Fill the bottom of the steamer pot with water to the “Fill Line”. The water should not touch the shrimp. Turn the heat to medium. Bring the water to a hard simmer. Next, place 8 to 10 seasoned shrimp, the first batch, into the steamer basket then lower the basket into the pot. Place the lid on. Steam for 4 to 5 minutes until just cooked through. Repeat this process for the second batch.
Note: A great rule to follow when cooking shrimp.
Once the shrimp form the shape of the letter “C” they are done. If they form the shape of the letter “O”, they’re “overcooked. Do not overfill the steamer basket with shrimp. You may have to do this in batches.
Transfer the steamed shrimp onto a rimmed baking sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Spread the cooked shrimp out into one even layer and chill for 30 minutes.
To Serve: Cover a serving plate with leafy greens. lay the shrimp down around the cocktail sauce. Having a homemade cocktail sauce or a really good store-bought one works just fine. There you have it, my Shrimp Cocktail, simple but elegant.