Friday, February 5, 2010

Valentine's Day Recipe Idea - Perfectly Cooked Shrimp Cocktail w/ Cranberry Orange BBQ Dipping Sauce

Shrimp cocktail done right can be an easy way to start your romantic dinner for Valentine's Day, however most people make the mistake of not flavoring the shrimp's cooking water. This recipe will give you the most flavorful shrimp you have ever tasted. Give it a try!

Here is what you need ...

2 lbs shrimp (I prefer 16/20 e-z peel, the shells add flavor and keep them moist)
large pot and 1.5 gal water
½ bottle dry white wine
1 cup fresh lemon juice
¼ cup pickling spice
1 lg yellow onion
1 med carrot
2 stalks celery
1 head garlic split in half

(optional ingredients)
½ cup gin
¼ cup sugar
chili flake to taste
Rough cut carrots, celery, & onion

Place all ingredients into the pot except the shrimp.

Bring to a boil and simmer for 15 min

Turn heat to high and add the shrimp, stir regularly.

This next step will be perfected with practice, the shrimp will begin to curl and loose their glassy appearance. Watch carefully because the shrimp will be done before the water returns to a boil. I like to pinch a few shrimp to expose the ridge on the back and when the glassy look is gone, they are done. When they are cooked right, they are very tender. If they are over cooked, the shrimp will be a little tough but the flavor will be good. If they are not cooked enough, the shrimp will also be tough and have an unpleasant texture.

Once you have determined the doneness, Drain off 90% of the water and refill the pot with the coldest water you have(add ice if you like). The idea here is to stop the shrimp from cooking without flushing all the flavor off. When they have sufficiently cooled off, drain and place in a container in the fridge.

I like to leave all the vegetables in with the shrimp until ready to serve, they help keep the shrimp moist while chilling completely.

My Cranberry Orange BBQ make a great shrimp cocktail sauce right out the bottle, a nice compliment to this flavorful recipe.