How to make flavorful steamed shrimp for your next party!
Shrimp Cocktail, 101
Steamed shrimp are a classic cocktail party hors d'œuvre, and making them can be a snap. You just need the right seasonings and the simple know how to make it happen.
First, the shrimp. Buy two (2) pounds of medium sized fresh shrimp. Shrimp are sized according to how many fit into a pound, so two pounds of thirty (30) count shrimp would be about the right amount for a medium sized get together. If you can, have the fish monger peel and clean the shrimp, leaving the tail on (that makes them easier for dipping). If you can't get them cleaned, take the shells off by digging your thumb in underneath where the legs are and pulling across. That should take the shell off. Then, take a pairing knife and slice down the inside of the shrimp where the digestive track is (it will look like a thin, black line), and pull it out with your forefinger. This can be time consuming, so if you can have them cleaned for you, do so.
Keep the shrimp on ice until just before cooking them, as fresh shrimp spoil quickly. Bring six (6) cups of water, two (2) bay leaves, two (2) tablespoons coriander, two (2) tablespoons dill, and two (2) tablespoons kosher salt to a boil in a stock pot. Put the fitted steamer insert in now. If you don't have a fitted steamer insert, you can improvise with a strainer or a colander, as long as the bottom doesn't touch the water, and you can fit a lid on top of the stock pot.
Throw in the shrimp! Once the shrimp are in, lower the flame to low and put a lid on the stock pot. They will cook very quickly. Don't leave them in for any more than three (3) minutes. Once the shrimp change from grey to pink, they're done.
Take the shrimp and chill them on a bed of ice until they are ready to serve. Serve alongside cocktail sauce or, for a more unconventional dipping option, a garlic aoli. Enjoy!
Get those shrimp cleaned and shelled ahead of time!
Overcooking shrimp is really easy to do. Be vigilant!