Roasting is my preferred method for cooking shrimp. I believe that the flavors concentrate, and you can more easily add seasoning directly to the shrimp, while cooking. With poaching or boiling, I feel like you lose some flavor in the water.
After roasting, the shrimp can be used for a lunch or dinner entree, used to top a salad, served as a shared protein with steak or chicken, or chilled to present as a shrimp cocktail appetizer.
I will gladly use frozen jumbo (12 to 16 count) peeled & de-veined shrimp, or the largest you can find or afford. Thaw them in the refrigerator overnight before using, or run cool water over frozen shrimp in a colander. Remove shrimp to a sheet tray lined with paper towels and blot them to remove any excess moisture.
Discard the paper towels and use the same sheet pan for preparing your shrimp for roasting: drizzle with olive oil, seafood seasoning (such as Old Bay), kosher salt and pepper.
For every 2 pounds of shrimp, I use 2 to 3 Tbsp. olive oil and seasonings to taste, such as:
- 2 pounds peeled & de-veined shrimp
- 2-3 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1 Tbsp. seafood seasoning (such as Old Bay)
- 1 tsp. kosher salt
- 1 tsp. ground black pepper
Toss the shrimp around right on the sheet pan that you will use for roasting — no need to use a separate bowl to season the shrimp. After tossing all ingredients to coat thoroughly, move shrimp around to form a single layer. Do not over-crowd the pan, which will not allow for even roasting. No more than 2 pounds of shrimp per half-sheet pan.
Roast at 400 degrees for 7-9 minutes, but do not over-cook. If you do not have jumbo shrimp, perhaps remove from the oven at 6-7 minutes.
Once cooked, remove from oven and allow shrimp to rest on the sheet pan for 2-3 minutes before removing to a serving plate.
I will often make these the day ahead and store in the refrigerator overnight. Always drizzle the shrimp, for serving or storing, with whatever juices remain in the sheet pan from cooking.
If serving by themselves, such as a shrimp cocktail, it is good to make the sauce the day ahead also, and have it stored in the refrigerator overnight.
For the cocktail sauce:
- 1/2 cup Chili Sauce (such as Heinz)
- 1/2 cup good ketchup
- 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tsp Sriracha or garlic chili sauce
- 2-3 Tbsp. ground horseradish (I use 3 to 4)
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- Juice of 1/2 lemon
- Lemon wedges for garnish
Serve cold shrimp on a platter with a bowl of cocktail sauce and garnish with fresh lemon wedges. Squeeze a little fresh lemon juice over the shrimp just before serving. A small dish should accompany this platter for discarding tails. A garnish of fresh curly parsley looks very nice.
Remind guests to pinch the bottom of the shrimp tail while pulling to release the full shrimp tail meat from the shell.