I actually never bought shrimp until I met my husband. Oh sure, I’ve eaten it at parties and when out to dinner, but I never bought it and prepared it myself. And, since 2003, I’ve been buying the pre-cooked kind when Steve gets a hankering for shimp, which is every major or minor holiday and on occasion in-between. <grin>
It is not bad, espeically with the “kicky” cocktail sauce that I make, but I have noticed that often, when other people prepare shrimp as an appetizer, it tastes better. Now I know why. You should cook it yourself, preferably with the shell still on.
I actually ended up buying raw shrimp on a whim. Steve wanted some for our July 4th party (and wouldn’t you know, I forget to put them out after cooking, peeling, and chilling them! My apologies to our guests. <wry grin>)
Both cooked and raw frozen shrimp were on sale, but the ccoked were smaller, the 41-50 per bag count size, and the raw were fewer but thus larger. I opted for the the bigger ones.
Then, while wandering around the Intenet looking for cooking ideas, I found a recipe for cooking them in a quick to prepare veggie/lemon stock. Here is the recipe I used:
No-Fail Boiled Shrimp
Joy of Cooking: All About Party Foods & Drinks, by Irma S. Rombauer, Marion Rombauer Becker, and Ethan Becker.
If you are grilling, broiling, or boiling shrimp, consider cooking them in their shells, for it protects the meat from drying out and helps them retain maximum flavor. If you wish, prepare the shrimp in plain water.
In a large saucepan, combine:
10 cups water
2 celery stalks, cut into 2-inch lengths
1 medium onion, cut into eighths
1 small lemon, quartered
1/2 bunch fresh parsley
8 black peppercorns
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper
Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes. Strain the liquid and return it to the pan.
Add: 2 pounds shrimp, any size, fresh or frozen, preferably in their shells for best flavor
Return the liquid to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer, uncovered, for 2 minutes exactly. Drain the shrimp, remove to a platter, and let cool. Set out one or more of the following for dipping: Cocktail Sauce, Sauce Remoulade, Tartar Sauce.
The shrimp were super. it takes some extra time to make the stock and then peel the shrimp afterwards (they were “EZ Peel” so not to hard to do) but I think it was worth the effort.
I always make my own cocktail sauce – pretty basic, although I use freeze squeezed lemon juice when I have a lemon around. And, I just bought some Boars Head brand prepared horseradish to try next time. JUST grated horseradish and vinegar, with no preservatives, etc. I like that in a condiment. Anyway – my cocktail sauce recipe – just mix up ketchup, lemon juice, horseradish, Worcestershire sauce, and tabasco or other hot pepper sauce – amounts to taste.