I love a cocktail at the end of the day, but my refreshing treat of choice has no alcohol. I'm talking about shrimp cocktail, and I found the best place to buy the star of the show.
I'm hooked on the frozen crustaceans stocked by chef Robert "BB" Brunet, owner of Momma Pearl's Cajun Kitchen & Seafood Co. The shrimp are not only delicious, but also super healthy, packed with low-fat protein, antioxidants and vitamins.
My obsession with these shrimp started after I picked up a couple of pounds for our Christmas dinner starter. I was so impressed with the flavor and texture that I now keep a bag in my freezer at the ready for when I want an appetizer, light lunch or snack.
How good are these shrimp? On a recent trip to Mazatlán, Mexico - considered the shrimp capital of the world for the quantity of shellfish caught and exported - I was disappointed by the flavor and quality of the shrimp I was served. It made me long to get home for a fix from Brunet's source.
His seafood from Louisiana - shrimp, catfish, grouper, redfish, tuna, sea bass, sea trout, swai and crawfish - are flash-frozen as soon as they are harvested. It's flown in weekly or as demand dictates.
I go with the 16/20 size of shrimp for cocktails. That's the number per pound, meaning you can expect 16 to 20 shrimp in each pound. I get closer to 24 per pound, which costs $10.50, with a minimum order of 2 pounds. The shrimp come peeled and deveined with the tail on. So they're all cleaned up and make a beautiful presentation cupped over the edge of a cocktail glass.
To prepare, bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil. Dump in the number of frozen shrimp you wish to serve, and wait for the water to return to a boil. Then set the timer for three minutes. Meanwhile, set a colander in the sink and fill a bowl with ice. When the cooking is done, pour the boiling water and shrimp into the colander. Dump the ice on them and run cold water over the colander to chill the shrimp quickly. When the crustaceans are cold, place them on a paper towel and let drain. Serve the shrimp or store in the refrigerator until ready to eat. I usually prepare them a day ahead so the shrimp are good and cold.
For presentation, fill a martini glass with shredded lettuce, drape shrimp on the edge of the glass, and spoon cocktail sauce in the center of the glass over the lettuce. Top with a lemon wedge on the cocktail sauce. Cocktail sauce is super easy to make, but it's even easier when you buy McCormick Cocktail Sauce for Seafood in the meat department of King Soopers. I like the extra-hot option.