Help me steam shrimp!!

Since the fiance’s out of town, I want to try my hand at steaming shrimp (he refuses to eat it; I love it), however, I have no idea how to go about it, other than it involves boiling water and some Old Bay seasoning. Do I dump the shrimp in the water or use a steamer basket? Add lemon juice/herbs to the water or not? I’m a fairly good cook, but am clueless when it comes to cooking seafood other than shrimp scampi. Help me?

Easy easy! You can do it as simply as dumping those shrimp into water and taking them out after 3 or so minutes once they look pink and not gray. Salt the water, add old bay, add lemon, whatever you like.

Joy of Cooking has a nice recipe for the additions. I think it involves boiling a lemon, some paprika, some salt, a quartered onion, and a stalk of celery in water for ten minutes, discarding all that stuff, and using the remaining water to boil the shrimp in.

Nothing quite like fresh-boiled shrimp!


As long as you are doing that, try broiling some at the same time and doing a taste test. I use Alton Browns recipe for The Shrimp Cocktail. It is wonderful, the dry heat gets the tons of flavour from the shell into the meat where it will do some good :slight_smile:

As for steaming, it’s tres easy, just season the shrimp and toss them into a steamer till pink and firm. Both options are preferable to boiling which leaches out a lot of flavour IMHO.

Say, “Hey, shorty—how’s the weather down there?” That’ll steam 'em!

We’re talking in-shell steamed shrimp, right?

If you’re lucky enough to have access to an actual cooking steam machine, the only two recommendations I can make are to slightly overseason the shrimp and to make sure they’re laid out as flat as you can get them in the pan, to steam them as evenly as possible without overcooking. Overseason because you’re going to lose a lot seasonings to the drip pan during the cooking process. Still, watch the salt.

Most of us have to make do with a big cooking pot or wok; you can probably make such an arrangement work to your advantage, but be prepared to rearrrange the shrimp several times in your 3-5 cooking time, to check for uneven cooking. You’ll definitely want to use a lid to help build pressure in the steaming.

Turn up the the heat and do not overcook.

If you’re boiling the shrimp, just drop it in violently boiling water and pull it out 3-4 minutes later. Like cooking rice, it is the mark of an amatuer to stir it while it’s cooking.

Old Bay Seasoning is okay, but I personally like fairly spicy shrimp. I use Creole/Cajun Seasonings with an extra splash of crushed red pepper and some chopped chives.

Unlike most cookbook recommendations, I add lemon immediately after cooking, and certainly not in the water, because I prefer the undiluted lemony taste.

Smaller shrimp (say, around 34-45ct) are actually easier to steam (and to me, tastier.)

Honestly compells me to admit I’ve had fairly decent results “steaming” shrimp in sealed Tupperware containers 1/4th filled with water in the microwave, although there’s a greater chance of overcooking or unevenly cooking shrimp.

I’ve rarely steamed less than a pound of shrimp in my life and usually cook two pounds at a time, so all advice is given with the assumption you’re cooking at least one pound and no more than three at a time.

If you are doing them for shrimp cocktail, I recommend putting them straight into a bowl of ice water after cooking. It keeps them from overcooking and gives them a nice firm texture.

Damn, I was going to suggest insulting their political views.

:smiley: Beautiful as always!

Now I want me some shrimp.