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Old 06-27-2006, 11:47 AM   #1
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Boiling Shrimp

I'm watching Sara Moulton, and her guest chief cooked shrimp by poaching it. He says use a lot of well-seasoned water, bring it to a boil, put in shrimp, turn off the heat, and let it stand for 5 minutes. He says this method will prevent rubbery shrimp.


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Old 06-27-2006, 11:56 AM   #2
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I usually keep them boiling but stand by and watch them with eagle eyes, as soon as they turn opaque and take on bright red colour I turn it off and immediately drain them. Which doesn't take long at all.

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Old 06-27-2006, 12:00 PM   #3
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5 minutes is WAY to long IMO...i never do it for more than 90 seconds....
I hated going to weddings. All the grandmas would poke me saying "You're next". They stopped that when I started doing it to them at funerals.
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Old 06-27-2006, 12:07 PM   #4
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The way Sara's guest does it is the way I always do it too. Boiling (as opposed to simmering) protein makes it seize up.

As far as time goes, I think it depends on how many shrimp and how big they are, but 5 minutes is probably too long.

I cooked a pound of jumbo shrimp this way on Saturday and I left them in the hot seasoned water for 2 min, then took one out, tested it, and it was done. Got the rest of them right out and into ice bath, so most of them cooked for about 2 1/2 min.
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Old 06-27-2006, 12:14 PM   #5
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Let stand for 5 minutes, not boil. that is pretty much the way I do it. And for large shrimp they are usually JUST right.
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Old 06-27-2006, 03:45 PM   #6
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Boil water, spices and flavorings. Shut off heat, put in THAWED shrimp, shell on, if desired; P&D'd if not, and let poach until they lose their gray color and start turning a nice pink. Bingo.

Drain, strain, shock in ice bath. You're done.

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Old 06-27-2006, 05:50 PM   #7
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"Tune in" to the show I was talking about, and check out the Melon Salad recipe. It tells exactly how the French chef (Daniel Boulud) cooked the shrimp.

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Old 06-28-2006, 12:32 AM   #8
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I think a lot has to do with what you are trying to accomplish.

I remember when I was little and we lived in New Orleans and Dad and some of the guys he worked with went out shrimpin' and crabbin' on Lake Pontchartrain ... well, that was back in the early 1950's before it got too polluted.

They would bring a big pot of water up to a boil and toss in 1-2 packets of Zatarain's "Crab and Shrimp Boil" - let it simmer for about 30-minutes, then toss in the shrimp (usually about 20-pounds) and let it steep off the heat for about 30-minutes - then it was peel and eat. Sometimes they did a full blown "boil" and we had corn and potatoes that were cooked first, then the shrimps and crabs were added after the pot came off the fire.

I think shrimp are like squid - if you don't want it "rubbery" then you either cook it for a very short time - or cook it for a long time. If you're going for "boiled" shrimps - I like the "long time" method so they absorb the flavors from the "boil" - for something like a pasta dish - the short 1-2 minute method.
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Old 06-28-2006, 04:03 AM   #9
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Umm, well it was Daniel Boloud after all. Arguably the top chef in NYC and one of the top 5 in the country.
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Old 06-28-2006, 08:50 AM   #10
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Another thing to remember, is that "large" and "jumbo" shrimp are different sizes between different supermarkets. I find it more accurate to describe shrimp size by their count-per-pound, which is usually expressed as a fraction, like 41/50, 21/25, etc. This is a range, and you can expect to have anywhere between the two numbers of that size shrimp in a pound, so 41/50's would have somewhere between 41 and 50 shrimp in one pound.

Also, there is the issue of how big of a volume of cooking liquid you have. If you have a couple gallons of water at a simmer, when you toss in say a pound of shrimp, it will cook faster, due to the high "stored heat" volume in the water, than tossing the same pound of shrimp into one gallon of water at a simmer.

At work, we often cook two pounds of 8/12 count shrimp (that's shrimp that's about 2 oz EACH, their huge, about as big as you can get), from frozen straight into the poaching liquid. It usually takes about 5 minutes, sometimes longer. I usually have about a gallon of water in the boil, and leave it on a low heat when poaching. I also stand over it like a hawk, watching. If it starts to bubble, off the heat immediately, drain it, and ice-bath it to stop the cooking.

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