I really wish there was a picture that could express the absolute, insane joy I felt while eating these. Fellow foodies, I know you can relate. When your eating is constantly interrupted by “oh my god, these are so good” or “oh lord, I’m eating too fast” and you can’t stop thinking about the next time you will eat the same dish … that kind of food joy.
Also, this was a great “urg … it’s Monday” dish served with cocktail sauce spiked with extra-spicy horseradish, lemon wedges, and white wine. It made my night.
What’s really weird, though, is that I’ve never in my life had butter poached shrimp. I spent my youngest years on the beach; I was eating seafood right after I graduated from baby bottles. Bubba Gump and I would have totally dished about our favorite shrimp meals. I’ve probably had thousands of peel and eat shrimp meals at home. But we always steamed our shrimp with Old Bay or I’ve sauteed them in some way. So, when I heard about poaching shrimp in butter I was instantly intrigued. Shrimp and butter. Two amazing ingredients.
First of all, this is super easy – it’s all about maintaining the right temp and only takes about 10 minutes!
And oh my, this method produces tender, sweet, rich, flavorful shrimp. It was unlike any shrimp dish I’ve ever had and it is now certainly my favorite. Too often shrimp are overcooked in boiling water or sauces and turn rubbery and bland. Butter poaching, however, produced amazingly succulent shrimp. Perfect for eating with cocktail sauce and lemon or adding to any dish you choose. Have I convinced you yet?
- 2 tbsp. water
- 1 cup butter (2 sticks), cut into 12 chunks
- 1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined (preferably wild caught)
- Lemon, cocktail sauce for serving (optional)
- Heat the water in a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer.
- Add a chunk of butter and whisk (or stir) continuously as the butter melts. Once the butter has begun to melt and emulsify into the water add three more chunks and continue to whisk. Gradually add the remaining butter chunks, constantly whisking, stirring or simply swirling the pan. You want to keep the butter moving and the heat just below a simmer.
- When all the butter is incorporated, add the shrimp. Keep the heat at medium-high so the butter heats up again and maintain the temperature just below a simmer (170 to 180 degrees).
- Cook 3 to 5 minutes, stirring the shrimp frequently. Do not let the butter boil! If your temp gets too hot, simply lift off the heat for a few seconds to keep it just below a simmer. When they appear cooked through, take a shrimp and cut into it to check. It should be white at the center, tender, and juicy.