Fresh Gulf shrimp is one of life’s greatest pleasures, and we’re incredibly lucky to source it so easily here in Baton Rouge. All it takes is a trip inland, to cities like Birmingham, Memphis or Atlanta, to realize that fresh local shrimp doesn’t usually make it that far off the coast.
Thankfully, that’s not the case here, where seafood markets source the freshest Gulf shrimp in whatever size you’re looking for. Louisiana’s shrimp season spans March through December, so you can count on a nearly year-round supply of shrimp for grilling, sautéing, incorporating into bisques and gumbos or just boiling. Crawfish season will be on the wane soon—the perfect time to turn your attention to playing around with plump, sweet shrimp.
I’m a big fan of always buying head-on shrimp and removing the heads at home. These shrimp have been handled less by processors and usually taste fresher. Here’s a quick method of boiling them for a peel-and-eat night.
3 pounds large head-on shrimp
2 tablespoons liquid seafood boil
3 stalks celery, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 large white or yellow onion, cut into large pieces
1 tablespoon peppercorns
Fresh lemon wedges for garnish
To a large pot, preferably with a basket, fill with water to two-thirds full and bring to a boil. Meanwhile, remove heads from the shrimp. (Reserve the heads for a future stock, if you like.) To the water, add the crab boil, celery, onion and peppercorns. As soon as the water comes to a boil, add the shrimp, stir slightly, then turn off the heat. Allow the shrimp to poach until pink and cooked through, about 1-2 minutes. Strain, and pour the shrimp into a shallow bowl.
Garnish with fresh lemon wedges, and serve with cocktail sauce.
Maggie Heyn Richardson is a regular 225 contributor. Reach her at hungryforlouisiana.com.