Why It Works
- Cooking shrimp sous vide ensures consistently plump, juicy, flavorful results.
- Tossing the shrimp with baking soda firms up their texture.
Shrimp cooked by traditional methods can be fantastic, but nailing the perfect temperature can be a bit hit or miss. With a sous vide cooker, you don't have this issue because that short window of time between perfect and overcooked stretches out to a good half hour or so. Sous vide also allows you to achieve textures that you can't really achieve through more traditional methods and affords you the opportunity to infuse the shrimp with flavor while they cook. This recipe delivers basic poached-style shrimp, like the kind you'd serve chilled in a shrimp cocktail.
Sous Vide Shrimp Cooking Temperature
|125°F (52°C)||Translucent, semi-raw with a soft, buttery texture.|
|130°F (54°C)||Nearly opaque, very tender with a hint of firmness.|
|135°F (57°F)||Barely opaque, moist, juicy, and tender.|
|140°F (60°C)||Traditional poached texture with good bounce and a crisp, juicy bite.|
- 1 1/2 pounds large peeled shrimp (about 700g)(see note)
- Kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- Extra virgin olive oil or butter (optional)
- Aromatics such as garlic, shallots, tarragon, or parsley (optional)
Set your sous vide water bath to desired temperature according to the chart above.
In a large bowl, toss shrimp with 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt and the baking soda. Place shrimp in a heavy duty zipper-lock bag or a vacuum bag. If desired, add 1 to 2 tablespoons (15 to 30ml) olive oil or butter and aromatics. Remove all air from bag using the water displacement method or a vacuum sealer. Press shrimp into a single layer.
Add bagged shrimp to preheated water bath and cook for at least 15 minutes and up to 1 hour (the texture should show very little variation within this time frame). Remove shrimp from bag to a paper towel-lined plates. Serve hot, or chill and serve cold.
You can also cook shell-on shrimp. They will be more flavorful, but you'll either have to shell before serving, or have diners shell them on their own (or just eat the shells, they're delicious). For shell-on shrimp, add 5 minutes to the minimum cooking time.