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Recipe: No need for a party to have shrimp cocktail

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This Feb. 3, 2014 photo shows shrimp cocktail with "Bloody Mary" sauce in Concord, N.H. (AP Photo/Matthew Mead)

By ELIZABETH KARMEL

The Associated Press

First published Feb 19 2014 01:01AM
Updated Feb 19, 2014 08:34PM

There’s no reason you have to wait for fancy parties to enjoy a shrimp cocktail appetizer. All you need is an excuse. And to me, there’s none better than an Oscar viewing party. You don’t even have to cook the shrimp yourself (but it is better if you do).

My preference is for large or jumbo shrimp, generally classified as 10 to 15 shrimp per pound. Large usually come in at 15 to 30 per pound.

The best shrimp are flash frozen within hours of being caught. This preserves the flavor and texture of the shrimp. Keep the shrimp frozen until just before you want to serve or cook them. When you are ready, thaw the shrimp under cold running water. This is essential to preserving the texture of the shrimp.

For shrimp cocktail, I cook the shrimp by a method that is closer to poaching. I want the shrimp to be fully cooked, but not over-cooked and this is my fail-safe method. I boil a big pot of salted water and add fresh lemons just before adding the thawed shrimp. As soon as the shrimp are added, the lid goes on the pot and the heat is turned off until the shrimp are cooked, about 3 to 4 minutes for most jumbo shrimp.

Once the shrimp are cooked, I dunk them in cold water to stop the cooking. You know when shrimp are perfectly cooked when the shells come off easily. The shells tend to stick to over-cooked shrimp.

Keep the peeled shrimp dry and cold in the refrigerator, then serve with homemade cocktail sauce.

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