Emeril's Favorite Boiled Shrimp

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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 1 hr 30 min
  • Prep: 15 min
  • Inactive: 1 hr
  • Cook: 15 min
  • Yield: 1 pound boiled shrimp, serving 2 to 4 as an appetizer
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1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns

1 teaspoon coriander seeds

1 rib celery, cut into 1-inch pieces

1 sprig fresh tarragon

2 sprigs fresh thyme

3 sprigs fresh parsley

1 tablespoon Essence, recipe follows

2 tablespoons salt

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/2 lemon, squeezed (juice reserved) and the shell, plus 4 wedges for garnish 

1/2 lemon, squeezed (juice reserved) and the shell, plus 4 wedges for garnish

1/4 cup white wine

4 cups water

2 bay leaves

1 pound medium (about 30) shrimp, peeled and deveined, tail segment left intact

Cocktail sauce, recipe follows

Essence (Emeril's Creole Seasoning):

2 1/2 tablespoons paprika

2 tablespoons salt

2 tablespoons garlic powder

1 tablespoon black pepper

1 tablespoon onion powder

1 tablespoon cayenne pepper

1 tablespoon dried leaf oregano

1 tablespoon dried thyme

Cocktail Sauce:

1 cup ketchup

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon prepared horseradish

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

3 drops hot pepper sauce, optional


  1. In a large saucepan, combine the peppercorns, coriander seeds, celery, tarragon, thyme, parsley, Essence, salt, cayenne pepper, lemon juice, white wine, water and bay leaves and bring to a boil over high heat and cook for 5 minutes. Add the shrimp to the boiling water, stir, cover and remove from the heat. Let stand for 8 to 10 minutes, or until shrimp are just cooked through.
  2. Strain in a colander and transfer the shrimp to a large bowl. Discard the cooking liquid and seasonings. Refrigerate the shrimp until well chilled, about 1 hour. While the shrimp are chilling, make the Cocktail Sauce.
  3. When ready to serve, divide the shrimp among 4 small bowls, and hang them on the rim of each bowl. Divide the cocktail sauce into 4 equal portions and place in the bottom of each bowl. Garnish each bowl with a lemon wedge. Alternatively, you can arrange a layer of crushed ice in the bottom of 4 bowls, put a small ramekin of the cocktail sauce in the ice and arrange the shrimp on the ice around the sauce.

Essence (Emeril's Creole Seasoning):

Yield: About 2/3 cup
  1. Combine all ingredients thoroughly and store in an airtight jar or container.
  2. Recipe from "New New Orleans Cooking", by Emeril Lagasse and Jessie Tirsch. Published by William and Morrow, 1993.

Cocktail Sauce:

Yield: About 1 cup
  1. Combine all ingredients in a small non-reactive bowl and stir until thoroughly combined. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
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