East Meadow, N.Y.: Shrimp cooking in seasoned oil and water at Ceci's Arepa Joint in East Meadow, New York on May 3, 2021. (Photo by Raychel Brightman/Newsday RM via Getty Images)
Food - Drink
The Unique Searing Method For Perfectly Cooked Shrimp
With the texture of cooked shrimp, there’s a fine line between tender, yet firm, and outright rubbery, a variation that’s widely because shrimp is high in protein but low in fat. Fat is what forms that barrier that prevents sticking, offering a slick surface, but here’s one trick for perfectly seared shrimp that goes in a direction you might not expect.
The key to cooking shrimp is starting with a cold pan, since protein-rich foods like shrimp are inclined to stick to metal surfaces, especially hot ones. Much like how you freeze and tense up when jumping into a cold swimming pool, a cold piece of meat will seize up when added to a screaming-hot pan and bind to it.
Adding cold to cold and slowly bringing the temperature up of the shrimp and pan together is much less shocking to the protein. This way, they will cook and brown evenly as the pan and protein gently heat up in tandem, so an overcooked, rubbery batch of shrimp is far less likely to be the result.