Happy Valentine’s Day

Shrimp, bubbly and Casablanca

 A warm fire, a classic film, some shrimp and some champagne =  a feast! Sometimes it is the simpler things that make an evening special. A quiet evening relaxing by the fireplace watching a movie calls for food that is simple to prepare and easy to serve from the coffee table.  A bowl of boiled shrimp fits the bill nicely…at least for us.   

Bring four quarts of water to boil in a six or eight quart stock pot.Add one lemon, cut in half, a tablespoon of black peppercorns, two or three bay leaves, and your favorite seafood boil spice mix (Old Bay, Zatarains, etc.) to taste (usually one or two tablespoons of loose spice mix or 1 boiling bag).  Let the spices and water simmer for 10 to 15  minutes. Bring the pot up to a full boil and add a pound to a pound and half of 16/20 or 21/25 shrimp (shrimp are sold by the number per pound.  Here’s a shrimp size chart for reference.)  Start timing as soon as the water comes back to a full boil and cook for no more than four minutes.  Remove from heat, cover and let sit for two more minutes.  Test one shrimp for doneness.  If done, the drain the shrimp and place in a bowl for serving.  If not cooked through, give them another minute in the warm water and test again. 

Shrimp can be prepared ahead, drained and chilled for later serving, but they are just a good warm. 

Of course, some cocktail sauce is an almost mandatory condiment.  Mix together 1/4 cup each of catsup, chili sauce, and prepared horseradish.  Add one tablespoon Worcestershire sauce, two tablespoons of fresh squeezed lime or lemon juice, a pinch of salt and Tabasco to taste.  Mix well and chill.  Serve with the shrimp.Slice up a baguette and serve with some sweet butter and pop open a bottle of your favorite sparkling wine.

Enjoy!

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