The Best Poached Shrimp

Click for larger view

We often make shrimp cocktail as an appetizer when having guest.  We repeatedly hear that we make the best shrimp from our guests.  Poached shrimp are low in calories and a good source of protein.  Buy your shrimp at the best fish market or seafood counter of your super market.  Get wild caught if you can.  Although they are more work (they will need to be cleaned, shelled and deveined), when getting them with the shells on it is a must for flavorful shrimp. Go for the 20 to 30 count size. This is the way we poach the shrimp. Also, make your own cocktail sauce with fresh horseradish.  It is simple to do and these shrimp deserve the best.



Make Ahead: You can make these a few hours ahead of serving them but these are best when fresh.

Serving size: 4



  • 5 quarts water
  • 1 onion, quartered
  • 1 lemon, halved
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 12 peppercorns
  • 1 -2 cups dry white wine
  • 1 pound 20 to 30 count shrimp. Peeled, cleaned and deveined.


  • 1 cup catsup
  • 1 tablespoon or more freshly grated horseradish (to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 dash hot pepper sauce, if desired


1.   For the shrimp: To a large stock pot add the water, onion, squeezed lemon juice and lemon halves, bay leaves, peppercorns and wine.  Bring to a boil then lower the heat and allow to simmer for about 15 minutes.

2.   Meanwhile prepare an ice water bath for the cooked shrimp.

3.   When the poaching liquid has simmered for 15 minutes, bring it back to a rolling boil and then add the shrimp.  Start checking for doneness at 3 minutes by taking one out and cutting into the thickest part to see if it is cooked through.  You do not want to over cooked them as they will get tough.

4.   When they are done, quickly drain in a colander and immediately drop the shrimp into an ice water bath to stop the cooking.  Remove from water bath after about a minute or two and dry on a kitchen or paper towels.  Arrange on a platter and serve.

5.   For the cocktail sauce: Mix together the catsup, horseradish, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice and hot sauce.  Taste and add more horseradish or lemon juice to your liking.




Click for larger view