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How to Cook Shrimp to Serve Chilled

by Zora Hughes ; Updated September 28, 2017

Shrimp cocktail is a classic and timeless way to serve chilled shrimp.

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Boiling is the common method for cooking shrimp that need to be chilled for appetizers such as shrimp cocktail or a shrimp salad. Generally the shrimp is boiled in salted water, but many professional chefs boil the shrimp in a flavorful broth to infuse it with even more flavor. Any size of shrimp works, depending on what you are making -- jumbo shrimp works best for shrimp cocktail and shrimp remoulade, while smaller shrimp are ideal for cold shrimp salad. Use shell-on shrimp if possible, as it has more natural shrimp flavor than peeled shrimp.

Fill a large pot with water. Add kosher salt and bring to a boil. Use about 3 to 4 quarts of water for every 2 pounds of shrimp.

Add the shrimp and boil until they are opaque and heated through, about 2 to 3 minutes. Use a food thermometer to make sure they have cooked to a temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit, recommended by FoodSafety.gov for safe consumption.

Drain the shrimp and place on a baking sheet in a single layer. Allow them to cool for about 5 to 10 minutes. Place them in the refrigerator for an or until the shrimp are completely chilled.

Peel the shrimp after they are chilled if you used shell-on shrimp. Use a paring knife to make a shallow slit down the back of each shrimp and remove the black vein before serving.

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