I'm a Southern girl. I lived most of my life in the deep South. One of my favorite childhood memories was being taken out to dinner by my mom and dad when I was very young, probably around 5. By that time, two of my younger three sisters had been born, so going out to eat with just my parents was a huge treat. They took me to Fitzgerald's in New Orleans. This restaurant was right by Lake Ponchartrain. In fact, it has or had (not sure if it's still there) a dock and boats that went out on the lake. They would line the table top with newspaper and pour freshly boiled shrimp right on top. I remember sitting there ripping off those heads, tearing away the legs and tails,(Have I lost you yet?)and eating away. I still love boiled shrimp just as much today.
Once upon a time, I managed a restaurant called the Cabana Cafe. It was in a resort that was located on the Gulf of Mexico. For years, we had a Seafood Buffet that featured boiled shrimp, plus they were a standby on the menu. Most people prefer to eat them chilled and with a fancy name like Shrimp Cocktail. Me? I like them best still warm from being boiled and waiting to be peeled. I also like them seasoned. Seasoning your shrimp makes the cocktail sauce totally optional. Here's the recipe we used to use, or at least the closest I can get. For best results, use fresh Gulf coast shrimp.
2 gal water
¼ c Zatarain’s liquid crab boil
¼ c Old Bay seasoning
¼ c lemon juice
½ c salt
10 shakes Tabasco
Pour ingredients into large pot and bring to boil. Add whatever seafood, potatoes, corn, etc... that you need to cook. Remember that shrimp doesn't take long to cook. As soon as the gray is gone and you see all pink, it is done. Cook it longer and you'll have rubber. I recommend fresh Gulf shrimp.
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