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Peel and Eat Shrimp

CRAZY SISTA CRUSTACEAN PERFECTION!

by Lucy "LuLu" Buffett

Along the perfect little piece of Alabama coast I call home, summertime calls for a shrimp boil: local shrimp, perfectly boiled, pretty and pink, in perfectly seasoned water.

On fancy menus you find boiled shrimp as Shrimp Cocktail, a pretentious hors d'oeuvre typically consisting of six partially peeled shrimp, tails intact for prissy gripping. Usually overpriced, often overcooked, it is such a sad little dish; I'm amazed that it has long enjoyed the mystique of being "deluxe."

If you've ever tasted shrimp that wasn't cooked properly, then you know what I'm talking about: it falls apart when you try to peel it and tastes mushy, dense, and dry. Overcooking a delicate crustacean is a colossal culinary sin!

Boiled shrimp appears on my menu as, simply, Peel & Eat Shrimp...messy, yes, but certainly festive...and absolutely, perfectly cooked. While I'm not a perfectionist in all aspects of my life, when it comes to food, I am picky. My Gulf Shores, Alabama waterfront restaurant, LuLu's at Homeport Marina, serves over 4000 pounds of Peel & Eat Shrimp every year. It was important to me to figure out how to consistently boil shrimp...lots of them...perfectly. Thankfully, "perfect," in this instance, is fairly easy to achieve!

What's the secret? Well, I'll tell you what generations of Gulf Coast cooks know: never, never, NEVER cook shrimp for more than three minutes! Period! That's it. Perfect shrimp, every time.


Ingredients:

  • 2 gallons of water
  • 1 cup LuLu's Perfect Pepper Hot Sauce™ or any hot sauce
  • 3/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 3/4 cups liquid Zatarain's® crab and seafood boil
  • 1 (3 oz.) bag Zatarain's® dry crab and seafood boil
  • 5 bay leaves
  • 1/2 cup LuLu's Crazy Creola Seasoning™ or any creole, Cajun or blackening seasoning
  • 1/4 cup salt
  • 2-3 pounds of large wild-caught shrimp - Of course, I use Alabama Wild!

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Combine all ingredients except shrimp in a large stockpot. Bring to a full, rolling boil. Be prepared to have the spices "tickle" the back of your throat. Gesundheit!
  2. Add shrimp. Cook for TWO minutes. That's it. Not kidding. Stop reading this right now and go turn off the stove!
  3. Cover, turn off heat and let rest for ONE minute. Got that? (That’s a total of three minutes, for those of you counting!)
  4. Now you have to stop the cooking process, real quick. Grab a colander and drain off the shrimp. Spread out the shrimp in a large shallow baking dish and cover with ice. Let sit for five minutes.
  5. Drain again and refrigerate. Serve with savory, spicy cocktail sauce!