As a caterer, I’m often asked to prepare shrimp for my clients. It’s always one of the most popular items on the menu, and most guests gravitate towards the shrimp on the buffet table or as a passed appetizer. Kids and adults seem to love it equally. Versatile and fast-cooking, shrimp is delicious on its own or served with any number of sauces. It can be prepared in several ways such as sautéing, broiling, grilling and poaching.
Poaching is one of the easiest ways to prepare shrimp and it requires no added fat. Poaching is also a great cooking technique because it results in a nice, moist texture.
You simply boil some water and wine together with some salt and flavorings and then add raw shrimp that have been peeled and deveined; cook for one to three minutes, depending on the size of the shrimp. Shrimp are fully cooked when they turn pink and feel firm to the touch. To make cooking shrimp even easier, you can purchase shrimp that have already been shelled and the vein removed.
All shrimp are sold by size, whether they are labeled by the actual count per pound or by a name, such as jumbo or medium. Shrimp are usually labeled both ways to help you figure out what size you are buying. For example, shrimp that are labeled as “Jumbo Shrimp” might also be marked as “16-20,” meaning 16 to 20 shrimp per pound.
For a fast and easy appetizer that will be a hit at your next party, try Poached Shrimp with Aioli.
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Poached Shrimp with Aioli
Serves about 6
4 cups water
2 cups dry white wine
20 whole black peppercorns
Juice from 1/2 a lemon
2 bay leaves
1 pound jumbo shrimp (16-20 per pound), peeled and deveined, tail left on
1 cup mayonnaise
1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
To prepare shrimp: Bring water, wine, peppercorns, lemon juice, bay leaves and a large pinch of salt to boil in a medium saucepan. Add shrimp and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, or until they turn pink and are firm to the touch.
Drain and immediately plunge shrimp into a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking and chill them down. When cold; drain and pat dry.
To prepare aioli: Mix together mayonnaise and garlic in a small bowl. Serve with shrimp.
About Jennifer Knapp
Jennifer Knapp is an established San Francisco Bay Area caterer and a teacher at the renowned Tante Marie’s Cooking School. She has lived in the Bay Area for many years, and has worked in many aspects of the food industry, including restaurants, private cheffing and food marketing. Even when she is not working, you can often find her cooking for friends, checking out farmers’ markets and food trucks and discovering great new places to eat! Jennifer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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