Sunday, January 30, 2011

Day Thirty: Shrimpy or Wimpy?

Shrimp cocktail is one of those slightly kitschy, slightly outdated dishes that is unlikely to appear on most restaurant menus and possibly less likely to appear on a dinner party menu (though it seems that many cooks take pleasure in updating and reviving over-the-hill recipes, insisting on bringing them back from the grave). I've never thought it looked particularly appetizing, but then, I'm not a seafood lover (as you well know). While shrimp is much prettier cooked than it is raw, I still think it looks a little buggy with the tail on, and I do tend to think that the only cocktails that should be served ice cold contain alcohol. Nevertheless, I had shrimp cocktail tonight. Or, since my husband bought the shrimpies without their tails and we did not serve them as pictured, shrimp with cocktail sauce.

I thought shrimp would be fairly easy, since I've had such success with fried shrimp. Tsk, tsk, Laura. How could I be so foolish? A deep-fat fry covers a multitude of sins. Even with a generous coating of cocktail sauce, my first few shrimp were unbearably shrimpy. Not every shrimp had an equal shrimpy flavor--the few that possessed a milder flavor, I chewed and swallowed easily. The thing is, these shrimp (which were purchased pre-cooked) were simply boiled, not sauteed in butter or other lovely flavorings. And I think the application of flavor to food usually has to occur during the cooking process to be fully effective. Food that is salted during the cooking process doesn't taste salty, just flavorful. But forget to season that food and coat it in salt later, and you'll get a granulated, salty film on the outside of the food. Which is okay in some circumstances, but in general, it's not ideal. So I think next time I try shrimp I will cook it with some garlic and butter. I tried to swim in the deep end without my water wings. Next time, I will not be so foolhardy.

On a more positive note, I voluntarily ate egg salad today for lunch. It sounded really good, so I made some, and I ate it. And I still think it's freakin' awesome. It's hard to know for sure if you like a food after only one tasting. But now, the second time around, I feel confident saying that egg salad rocks. Maybe soon, I'll be able to say the same for shrimp.


  1. I can't do shrimp either. I don't know if it's that I can see their intestinal tract, or the icky texture. :(

  2. Yeah, I'm not yet brave enough to clean and "devein" them myself. Though once I did have to remove about a thousand shrimp tails at the catering place. But they were already gutted.