Perfect Shrimp Cocktail
By ThinGuy on Dec 23, 2007
What's the secret to making perfect shrimp? It's all in the brine. If you don't brine your shrimp, you are really missing out. Here's how to make high end shrimp, on par with Shrimp Cocktail that you'd find at a fine steakhouse.
I like to use U12 Shrimp (That's 12 to a pound). To me they are the perfect size when using as a main course. To do this right, your shrimp should still be in the shell, but should be cleaned and deveined. This is enough brine for two pounds of U12 shrimp
First we need to make the brine. It's really simple, here's what you need:
- 2 cups of hot tap water
- 1/2 cup of table sugar
- 1/2 cup of coarse/kosher salt
- 2 cups of ice
Put hot water into a large bowl, dissolve the sugar and salt. And by dissolve I mean the water is clear and you can't see the sugar and salt any more. If it's cloudy, keep stirring.
Once dissolved, add the ice to cool down the brine. We do this because we don't want to cook the shrimp in the brine.
Once the brine has cooled, add your shrimp. Make sure all the shrimp get submerged in the brine. Let the shrimp sit in the brine for 30 minutes, no longer.
With about 10 minutes left, turn your broiler on (500 F direct heat from top) AND put a cookie sheet or broiling tray in the oven. We want this tray to be HOT!
Once the 30 minutes are up, remove the shrimp from the brine and dump out the brine. Rinse and dry bowl.
Pour a couple of tablespoons of olive oil in the bowl and (optionally) a liberal amount of Old Bay Seasoning. Note though that using Old Bay will give the shrimp a slightly "dirty" look.
Mix together, then add the shrimp to the bowl. Toss the shrimp around to get a good coating.
Remove the hot tray from the broiler and put the shrimp on the tray. The shrimp will sizzle as they touch the hot tray.
Broil for four minutes.
Flip shrimp over and Broil for another 3 minutes.
Remove from oven.
Put shrimp on a plate, cover, and refrigerate until cool. Although it's perfectly acceptable to eat them hot off the tray. :)
When cool, remove the shells leaving the tail on and serve with or without cocktail sauce. They really don't need any sauce though, especially if you used the Old Bay.
Note: if any of the shrimp fall apart or are mushy when removing the shells, throw them away. They are old. Find a new place to buy your shrimp.