Sep 11, 2013 4:00 PM by Jennifer English
The key to perfect party shrimp is not to over cook them.
I like to fast poach mine in a bright flavorful poaching liquid. Poaching liquid is like a cooking cocktail that is composed of flavors to impart flavor to the shrimp. I start by having an ice bath ready to shock the shrimp and stop the cooking process.
You can serve the shrimp peeled and plattered or set out as peel and eat style depending on the party you are hosting. I like to peel and eat while sipping a great chilled white wine or an iced cold beer with my friends on paper-covered tables while we talk. You can add a generous pour of the white wine you are serving to the poaching liquid for a kiss of harmonious flavor. A bottle of beer and whatever fresh herbs you have on hand also can be nice. Remember this is about the technique and the shrimp. The poaching liquid can reflect your signature flavor style and feel free to experiment.
4 qts water in a big pot with lid or dutch oven
4 stalks celery
2-3 lemons halved
2 star anise
8-10 whole black peppercorns
2 Tbsp sea salt
4 cloves garlic
2-3# raw Mexican shrimp with shells on (26/30 count work best)
Fill a large bowl halfway with ice and water.
Meanwhile, pour 4 qt. water into a Dutch oven; squeeze juice from lemons into Dutch oven, add lemon shells, black peppercorns, celery, star anise, garlic cloves, bay leaves, and salt; bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Remove from heat; add shrimp. Cover and let stand 5-7 minutes or just until shrimp turn completely pink. Removes from poaching liquid with a slotted spoon and place into ice bath. Stir shrimp into ice water; let stand 10 minutes. Peel and de-vein shrimp or serve unpeeled with extra bowls for the peelings. Serve with a great garlic bread and lots of napkins.