Sunday, March 20, 2011

Oven Roasted Peel and Eat Shrimp

You're either in the seafood camp or you're not.  But, if you're in, you're usually ALL the way in.  I love seafood, in fact, it's a passion.  If I could eat seafood day and night, I would.  Shrimp happens to be one of my favorites, and peel and eat are at the top of the shrimp preparation category for sure.  A good shrimp cocktail reminds me of my dad.  He had me standing over a sink at a very young age (probably too young) learning how to peel, clean and devein shrimp.  It's actually one of my first cooking memories, freezing cold hands, a little pairing knife and giant plastic bag filled with huge, un-cooked shrimp.  And, with all of the prep work and care that goes into them, how could you NOT enjoy them?  I have definitely learned that eating is much more pleasurable when you've put your heart and hands into the cooking.

My baby sister (not-so-baby, 18 years of age) was deathly allergic to shrimp her whole life, which runs in the family, though it skipped my other sister and I.  I say "was allergic" because she recently had an allergy test done and the doc informed her that she had out-grown her food allergy of shell fish!  HALLELUJAH.  I can't tell you how awkward it is when the whole family is chowing down on crab legs and shrimp on Christmas and she's listening to the "oohs and ahh's" with absolutely no understanding of what all the fuss is about and no chance of even being able to taste it.  I was so excited to hear this news, and hear about how she's been running all over town eating all the shell fish she can get her hands on, that I had to make a celebratory dinner for her which included a home-made shrimp cocktail.  She loved it, though I thought it was hilarious that she had no idea how to peel or eat them! ;)

This shrimp cocktail is different because it's oven roasted as opposed to poached, much easier and has a deeper flavor.  I roast the shrimp with fresh lemon juice, fresh lemon zest and kosher salt and a little pepper.  That's it!  Simple, and doesn't cover the flavor of the shrimp.  It will take you longer to clean the little buggers than it will to cook them, but you could certainly buy the shrimp that already comes cleaned and deveined- if you're rich of course!  LOL.  Make sure the SHELL IS LEFT ON. 

This is a great weekend treat, or even a party platter must have!  Enjoy :)

Housepitalities Oven Roasted Shrimp Cocktail (Serves 4)

-1.5 lbs of Shrimp (usually the 21-30 count work out well in regards to size)
-2 Lemons
-Kosher Salt
-Freshly Ground Pepper

Pre-heat oven to 375.  De-vein and clean the shrimp, leaving the shell on.  Slice down the back of the shrimp to do this, and clean the vein, rinse.  Place on baking sheet.  

Zest one lemon over the shrimp and squeeze the juice of the lemon over the shrimp.  Lightly sprinkle with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper.  Roast 4 minutes on each side, a total of 8-9 minutes.

Immediately transfer to a bowl of ice and place in fridge for at least 1 hour.   Serve with lemon wedges, and I like to serve it with cocktail sauce which I make with 1/2 cup chili sauce or ketchup and freshly grated horseradish, about 1-2 tablespoons.  YUM!


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