When preparing a shrimp remoulade, the late chef Warren Leruth of LeRuth’s restaurant in New Orleans used this foolproof method for cooking and cleaning shrimp. While many chefs recommend boiling peeled shrimp in a court-bouillon (water flavored with aromatics), Leruth found that the crustaceans’ natural flavor was masked that way. Instead, he cooked them unpeeled in unsalted water, dunked them in a heavily salted ice bath until cool, and then peeled and deveined them. His technique, which results in perfectly seasoned, tender meat, can be used with any variety of shrimp or prawns.
1 Rinse shrimp under cold running water; drain. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Whisk ¼ cup salt and 4 cups cold water in a bowl; add 3 cups ice and set aside.
2 Add shrimp to boiling water; cook until water returns to a boil and shrimp turn pink, 1–2 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer shrimp to salted ice bath.
3 When cool to the touch, peel shrimp by grasping their legs and pulling shell up and around the body.
4 Pinch off the tails; reserve tails and shells for fish stock if you like.
5 Using a paring knife, make a shallow incision along the shrimp’s curved back from head end to just above the tail; remove and discard vein.