How to Perfectly Poach Shrimp

By : | Comments Off on How to Perfectly Poach Shrimp | On : June 4, 2013 | Category : Cook's Tips, Dinner, Entree, General Information, Lunch

Homemade Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail

Many recipes like Shrimp Cocktail cook raw shrimp in boiling water. But shrimp, like most seafood cooks in just minutes making it easy to overcook producing a tough, rubbery, chewy consistency. Precooked, frozen shrimp is usually grossly overcooked.

The secret to perfectly cooked succulent shrimp is poaching. Poaching is the method most restaurants use. Poaching shrimp is simpler and more consistent than cooking in boiling water. Even if you poach shrimp a minute or two longer it is less critical than shrimp cooked in boiling water an extra minute or two because the poaching water temperature decreases during poaching.

Raw shrimp is usually lower in sodium than pre-cooked shrimp. Some brands add salt to raw shrimp, so check the nutrition facts label if you are concerned about sodium in your diet.

Cook’s Tips for Perfectly Poached Shrimp

  • When poaching, more water is better than less water to retain heat when adding cold foods like shrimp. Use 2 to 3 quarts/liters of water per pound of shrimp to assure thoroughly cooked shrimp.
  • Use a timer or your watch to carefully time how long the shrimp has been in the hot water.
  • Check shrimp after the minimum time has elapsed to see if they are cooked through. The shrimp’s color will go from translucent white/gray to opaque white/red throughout.
  • If the shrimp is opaque throughout, you can eat one to check the texture. Perfectly cooked shrimp will be moist, tender, and succulent.
  • When shrimp are cooked, quickly transfer them to a bowl of very cold or ice water for a couple minutes to stop the cooking and chill the shrimp. Drain shrimp and refrigerate or serve.
Approximate Poaching Times
Size Shrimp Per Pound Time (minutes)
Small 51/60 3 to 4
Medium 40/50 4 to 5
Large 31/40 5 to 6
Extra Large 21/25 6 to 8
Jumbo 16/21 8 to 10
Extra Jumbo 15 or less 10 to 12

A Few More Tips

  • Shrimp can be poached with or without the shells. Cleaning and deveining are easier before cooking.
  • Shrimp shells can be added to the poaching water to enhance the flavor.
  • The poaching water can be cooled, refrigerated or frozen, and used as a seafood stock.
  • Enjoy poached shrimp in shrimp cocktails, salads or any recipe calling for cooked shrimp.

Click here for poached shrimp recipe.