For some, steamed shrimp brings back fond memories of family beach vacations and holiday traditions, but if you’re not one of those folks, maybe it’s time you start making your own steamed shrimp memories. Not only is this one of the healthiest ways to prepare shrimp, it’s also one of the most versatile.
Keep it simple by adding your choice of vegetables to the steamer alongside the shrimp and you’ve got a ready-to-go meal. Or, spice up your next party with steamed shrimp cocktail, then use the leftover shrimp as a high-protein salad topper. All you need are cleaned, deveined shrimp. While steaming shrimp in the shell is recommended for better flavor, steaming peeled shrimp will deliver very near the same level of delicious.
Start with Premium Frozen Shrimp
Whether you live near the sea or not, keeping fresh, raw shrimp on-hand in your refrigerator is tricky. It just doesn’t last too long (2-3 days, max). Pro-tip: Choose high-quality frozen shrimp. It lasts up to a year. Yeah, a whole year. Think of the possibilities.
Choosing frozen means your shrimp will be ready when you are. Plus, you never really know how long shrimp has be sitting exposed to open air at your local supermarket. And any shrimp that looks “fresh” at the supermarket is actually “previously frozen,” meaning it was frozen to keep while being transported to your grocer, then thawed, then put on ice again. Lots of room for error and uncertainty.
Responsibly sourced, premium shrimp is frozen fresh day of catch, which means when you thaw it at home, it’s as fresh as the day it was harvested. Furthermore, shrimp defrost so quickly, it’s hardly worth the tiny amount of effort you’d saving buying yours supermarket “fresh.”
Quick-Thaw Your Shrimp Like This
To say thawing shrimp is easy and fast would be a bit of an understatement. All it takes is a colander, a large bowl, and some cool water. Place the colander into a large bowl, then remove your frozen shrimp from its package and pour it into the colander.
Next, fill the bowl with cool water, until your shrimp are submerged. Give it five minutes. If the shrimp are defrosted (you’ll know because they will be firm to the touch and bend easily), then after a gentle pat down, they’re ready to cook. If not, refresh the cool water and re-submerge the shrimp for another 5-10 minutes. Repeat as needed. Always pat dry before cooking.
Thawing Note: You’ll know your shrimp has thawed when it is firm – not solid – and flexible. Check its progress with by gently wiggling the tail forward and back. The shrimp is ready to cook if it bends easily with little resistance.
How to Steam Shrimp
First, bring 2/3 to half a pot of water to a rapid boil. Meanwhile, season your dry shrimp by tossing them liberally with the seasoning of your choice. Not a seasoning expert? Have no fear, there are many seasonings out there made specifically for shrimp or seafood. When in doubt, a dash of salt, pepper, and garlic is always a safe bet.
- Next, if you’ve got a steamer basket, now’s the time to pull it out. If not, don’t worry, you can use a colander or mesh strainer instead.
- Once the water is boiling, place the steaming vessel above the water and add the shrimp. It’s important that the shrimp is elevated above the water – not touching it’s surface or in any way submerged.
- Steam your shrimp for 5-6 minutes, tossing halfway through to ensure even cooking.
- Once done, you can serve them hot, or let them cool and serve chilled.
Other Ways to Cook Shrimp
Shrimp is such a versatile food, you can cook it almost as many ways as you can eat it! Here’s how to cook shrimp like a chef.