Why You Should Be Cooking Shrimp Sous Vide

Sous vide machines may seem like a new invention from several years ago, but they actually first popped up in a restaurant way back in 1974, per Cook's Illustrated. Then, years later, in the 1980s, sous vide was brought to the French railroad. And, thanks in part to the internet, the idea eventually made its way to the United States. Home cooks eventually learned more about sous vide circulators via the "Iron Chef America" match between Mario Batali and Wylie Dufresne in 2006, which, at the time, probably gave the impression that these fancy water bath machines were only for professional use.

Nowadays, many home cooks are able to use a sous vide machine, as they are user-friendly and great for consistent doneness within foods, according to Restaurant Chef Rambler. We can also take a cue from restaurants, which continue to implement the sous vide technique because it may not be as labor intensive as other cooking methods, per FSR Magazine. For example, instead of hovering over a skillet waiting for vegetables or protein to cook, you can just sous vide them and use the free time for other kitchen duties.

Perhaps these other dishes entail a side dish, dessert, or an accompaniment to salads and steaks, such as sautéed shrimp. Shrimp, in particular, cooks pretty fast in a skillet, so why bother using a sous vide machine at all? We have quite a few reasons.

Way more shrimpy

As Serious Eats explains, sous vide shrimp takes between 15 and 60 minutes, which is a far cry from cooking them in a skillet. However, you'll get shrimp that's full of flavor and aesthetically plumper. If that's not enough, you can also enhance their texture further with baking soda.

As mentioned earlier, consistent doneness is one of the hallmarks of sous vide cooking. When you cook shrimp in a skillet, they might overcook by a little, or perhaps you remove them a little too early, resulting in undercooked shrimp meat. But with a sous vide machine, you can rest assured that each shrimp will not only come out perfectly done but cooked to your preference. For instance, Serious Eats explains that a sous vide temperature of 135 degrees Fahrenheit results in tender shrimp with lots of juiciness, while 140 degrees Fahrenheit yields more of a snap on the exterior.

Shrimp can also be infused with seasonings or marinades, per Went There 8 This. Maybe this looks like a mix of butter with garlic, dried tarragon, and dijon mustard. Sous Vide Magazine says a tangy marinade of aji amarillo paste, juice from citrus fruits, and olive oil can mingle with shrimp for up to 25 minutes before the sous vide process begins.

Sure, it's quicker to cook shrimp in a skillet. But a sous vide machine may result in better flavor profiles.