You know those shrimp rings from the grocery store? They’re the ones that are shrink wrapped in plastic with a tiny cup of cocktail sauce? And almost always on some ridiculous sale like buy one get 43 free? And you see them absolutely everywhere around the holidays? Yeah, you know, those?
Promise me you aren’t going to buy one. Promise me you aren’t going to be that person that brings one to the holiday pitch-in. Promise me you won’t embarrass yourself. Promise me you’re going to make these shrimp instead.
The shrimp in those rings are painfully overcooked, rubbery and flavorless. They are sad little shrimp. These shrimp are packed full of layered flavor. They are happy delicious shrimp. They are tender and perfect for dipping in homemade cocktail sauce (please make your own, it is incredibly easy and the results are much better than the jarred kind). Actually, these are so good, no cocktail sauce is even needed.
I obviously can’t offer you a recipe as convenient as picking up a plastic package of shrimp, but I can tell you that this recipe is ready, from start to finish, in about 15 minutes. Which is pretty darn speedy, if you ask me. Especially when you consider the spectacular results.
This recipe originates from my spectacular father. These shrimp were part of an amazing spread of food my parents and I gorged ourselves on every Christmas Eve. My family is a blended family, which means my siblings were always elsewhere on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, and that left just me and my parents to celebrate. It sounds sad, but it was actually pretty amazing. We got to make our own traditions and these shrimp were always part of that meal.
As with most recipes from Dad, the original has a lot of “pinch of this” and “shake of that” and “do it until it looks right.” And while I know exactly what he means, that doesn’t translate very well into a printable recipe for you folks. So I translated Dad-ese into a usable recipe.