How to Cook Spicy Boiled Shrimp
I have spent most of my life near the Gulf of Mexico. Until a few years ago, both of my older brothers owned shrimp boats and spent a great deal of their leisure time shrimping. As a result, shrimp has always played a major role in my family's meals. For us, shrimp dishes are staples for regular family meals as well as for special occasions.
Boiling is one of the easiest ways to prepare shrimp. Just bring water to a boil in a large stockpot, add raw fresh or previously frozen shrimp (with heads on or off) to the water, and boil until they turn pink. It doesn't get much easier than that!
However, if you like your boiled shrimp nice and spicy, there is a secret to getting the results that you want. You probably know that you need to add some type of seasoning to the water, such as crab boil or old bay seasoning, to have any chance of ending up with shrimp that have a spicy kick.
Just adding seasoning isn't enough to really make your shrimp spicy. The secret to making spicy boiled shrimp is related to what you do once the shrimp are cooked. Many people drain the water off their shrimp as soon as the shrimp turn pink. This is the best way to make sure that your boiled shrimp are not spicy.
The best way to make sure that your boiled shrimp have a good kick is to leave them in the water after they are cooked. Remove the pot from the stove burner, and let the shrimp sit in the water for a while. As the shrimp and the water cool down together, they will pick up additional flavor from the seasoning in the cooking water.
The longer cooked boiled shrimp sit in the seasoned water, the more flavor they will absorb. If you like your shrimp ultra hot, let them sit for an hour or longer. In my house, we like things really spicy. Sometimes we actually let the shrimp sit in until cool enough to refrigerate, and then chill them overnight, still in the cooking water. This technique results in some of the spiciest shrimp you will ever taste!
If you only want a little bit of kick, drain the water after 15 minutes or so. It may take a few times to get the exact results that you want. Once you determine the right length of time for your taste preferences, you'll be able to make perfectly seasoned spicy boiled shrimp every time!
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