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"A gourmet who thinks of calories is like a tart who looks at her watch." - James Beard


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Poached Shrimp Cocktail & Shrimp Stock

If you ever buy those frozen shrimp rings at the grocery store, consider this instead. Poaching your own shrimp gives you such a nice, fresh flavour, plus the opportunity to make useful shrimp stock from the shells.  And it's so easy!

All you need is some frozen raw shrimp and some aromatics.

This is the shrimp I used, but any large, raw, shell-on shrimp is fine.  This is a great resource for finding out about sustainable seafood.  I'll admit, I didn't use it this time.

Fill a large, shallow pan with about an inch of water and add a bay leaf, garlic clove, a few peppercorns and a sprinkle of chili flakes.  Bring the water to a simmer and add the frozen shrimp in their shells.

As the water starts to come back to a simmer, the shrimp will start to turn pink.  Flip them over as they become opaque.  They only need about 3-4 minutes.  

Once they're just cooked through, remove them from the water with a slotted spoon or tongs and reserve the poaching liquid for your stock.  Cooking shrimp in their shells gives them way more flavour than peeling them first.

To make shrimp cocktail, chill the shrimp and peel them but leave the tails on.

You can make an easy cocktail sauce with a tablespoon of horseradish, two tablespoons of ketchup and a few dashes of Tabasco sauce to taste.  Serve on a platter with sliced lemon or in little cocktail glasses for an individual appetizer.  

That's diced celery and celery leaves at the bottom of the glass.  You can make these in advance and chill them in the fridge until guests arrive. 

But save the shrimp shells!  We're going to make a flavourful shrimp stock you can keep in the freezer and use in lobster bisque or any recipe that calls for fish stock.  

In a medium pot, heat a little oil and add a celery stalk and the white parts of a couple of green onions or a quarter of a small white onion.  

Add the shrimp shells and stir, cooking for about a minute.

Cover with water and throw in the shrimp poaching liquid. Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer uncovered for about 20-30 minutes until reduced by about half.

Strain out the solids and place the stock in a freezer container.

I ended up with exactly 2 cups and put it in the freezer for next time I need a little flavour in a soup.  Next time I'll show you what you can do with the rest of the poached shrimp.  

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