Poaching anything is often seen as a challenge, but thanks to this recipe, any home cook should be able to master it. No longer relegated to a fancy restaurant appetizer, poached shrimp is the perfect way to enjoy some good quality shrimp.
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Poached shrimp, or really anything poached for that matter, is the kind of thing that most people would only ever expect to have in restaurants.
However, so long as you don’t mind utilizing an ice bath and making sure to be wary of overcooking, making some tasty poached shrimp is surprisingly easy for the home cook.
Make sure to get some good quality shrimp for this recipe, as the quality of the shrimp is going to be definitely noticeable.
Frozen Shrimp Vs. Fresh Shrimp
For this recipe, you have the choice between fresh or frozen shrimp.
For convenience’s sake, using frozen shrimp is definitely going to be the best option, as you can usually pick up some bags of frozen shrimp for really cheap prices pretty much anywhere. Unless you live near the coast and are able to access reasonably priced fresh shrimp you are better to purchase frozen shrimp.
However, fresh shrimp is definitely the better option, so long as you can get it without paying excessive prices.
If you do go for fresh, make sure to ask your fishmonger to peel and devein the shrimp for you, or at most, leave the tail on, which gives you a handy little piece of shrimp to hold it by.
How To Tell When The Shrimp Is Cooked
Telling when shrimp is cooked is actually a surprisingly difficult challenge, as unlike red meat or even chicken, shrimp doesn’t really change dramatically when it is completely cooked.
Instead, the meat will go from an almost transparent, white fleshiness to a more opaque, gentle pinkness.
The color shouldn’t be the main test, but instead, you should be gauging just how translucent it is.
A properly cooked piece of shrimp should be almost totally opaque, and more importantly, it should be able to resist a firm squeeze without distending or breaking apart.
What Does The Ice Bath Do?
The idea of putting all of your shrimp into a giant ice bath probably seems a bit of a weird thing to do after just cooking it.
Well, using an ice bath does two important things to the shrimp. Firstly, the ice water shocks the shrimp and instantly stops the cooking process, which ensures that you don’t end up with overcooked, rubbery shrimp.
Secondly, the cold water chills the shrimp so that they can be served and enjoyed in just ten minutes rather than having to wait for them to naturally reach the ideal eating temperature.
You want to make sure that your poached shrimp is nice and cool when you eat it, because otherwise, alongside burning your hands, it could potentially cook your marinara or sweet Thai chili sauce when you dip them!
How To Serve Your Poached Shrimp
While you could serve your shrimp with just a simple wedge of lemon and your guests will be sure to enjoy them why not go the extra mile and serve them with a dipping sauce to really enhance their flavor?
- Marinara Sauce
Marinara sauce is a classic dipping sauce for things like poached shrimp because it offers that hit of acidity and sweetness that the gentle flavor of poached shrimp needs.
- Sweet Chili Sauce
Sweet chili and shrimp are a popular combination, primarily because of their mild spiciness and usually intense sweetness.
Try and get one that has a thick consistency, as it will cling better to the shrimp as you dip them into the sauce.
- Garlic Butter Sauce
A garlic butter sauce is one of the best options for adding a little extra flavor, while still allowing the taste of the shrimp to take center stage.
- Cocktail Sauce
By far the most traditional option, this strange concoction provides all of the missing flavor notes that poached shrimp lacks. Sweet, salty, creamy, and fatty, this is the best sauce for those that don’t mind its slightly uniform and velvety texture.
Looking for more delicious Seafood recipes? Try these out:
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- Karlynn Johnston
- 1-2 pounds large raw shrimp (26/30 count deveined and peeled or tail on)
- 3-4 liters water
- 1 lemon (cut into quarters)
- 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 2 cups Ice
- In a large pot with a lid add the water, salt and peppercorns. Squeeze the juice from the lemon wedges into the pot and then add the wedges to the pot also.
- Bring the water to a boil and remove from heat and let it stop boiling.
- Add in the shrimp and stir. Place the lid on top and let it sit for 5 minutes until the shrimp are pink and opaque.
- while the shrimp are cooking, prepare an ice bath in a separate large bowl 1/2 full of water and 2 cups of ice.
- When the shrimp are cooked drain the hot water and place just the shrimp in the bowl with the ice water and let them sit for 10 minutes. Strain and serve.
- Enjoy with your favorite marinara sauce or a sweet Thai chili sauce!
All calories and info are based on a third party calculator and are only an estimate. Actual nutritional info will vary with brands used, your measuring methods, portion sizes and more.