I don’t think I have been to one buffet where they don’t have boiled shrimp or crab claws and now I know why.  I have never really thought about until I began putting this menu together.  If you are cooking a large menu you need to have items that are easy and simple and don’t take up a lot of brain power.  Boiled shrimp is it!  Everyone loves it and it looks fancy and it takes about 4 minutes to prepare-I swear!!!

I buy the tail on, easy peel, raw, frozen shrimp 21-25.  Which means that when you buy 1 pound of shrimp you should get anywhere between 21-25 shrimp in that pound.  So, obviously the bigger the number the smaller the shrimps.  When you are serving boiled shrimp as a dish alone you want the largest shrimp you can find or afford.  And buying frozen means that you can buy in advance and thaw when you are ready. 
You can peel the shells off if you want or you can boil the shrimp with the shells on and let your guests peel.  They are called easy peel for a reason and they really are very easy to pull the shell off so don’t kill yourself peeling all the shrimp if you don’t have time or frankly the energy.  But, if you do go ahead and peel the shells off be sure and leave the tail on.  It looks prettier and also gives your guests a “handle” to hold on to when dipping into the cocktail sauce.
Speaking of the cocktail sauce…I have given you a recipe, but its kinda like a Bloody Mary in that you can adjust the amounts of the ingredients depending on your tastes.  If you like it more spicy then add more horseradish… It pretty hard to mess up cocktail sauce:)


Boiled Shrimp with Spicy Cocktail Sauce

Makes about 8-10 buffet servings

3 lb. Raw, easy peel, frozen shrimp 21-25 size
2 Tablespoons kosher salt

Cocktail sauce
1/2 cup ketchup
1/2 cup chili sauce
2 Tablespoons prepared horseradish
Juice of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon Tabasco

Place the frozen shrimp in a colander in the sink.  Run cold water over the shrimp for about 2-3 minutes.  Toss the shrimp and run cold water over shrimp for another 2-3 minutes.  Allow to sit and thaw completely.  

Bring a large pot of water to a point.  Add 2 salt to the water.  

Add the thawed shrimp and cook for about 3 minutes or until the shrimp is pink.  Drain in a colander.  Place drained and cooked shrimp in the refrigerator to cool.

To make the cocktail sauce combine all ingredients and mix well.  Let sit in refrigerator along with shrimp until chilled, about 30 minutes.  

When ready to serve, fill a large serving bowl with ice.  Place the cocktail sauce in smaller bowl and place in the middle of the ice bowl.  Arrange the shrimp along the edges on on top of the ice.