It was about day three of our Turks and Caicos vacation a couple of years ago when my two boys discovered that they could order shrimp cocktail from the ‘room service’ menu. We had been at our reserved poolside cabana for the entire morning, but didn’t want to trade the warm, gentle breeze emanating from the ocean – only a few yards away from the pool, for the frigid air conditioning of the many restaurants that surrounded us.
When our butler came by our cabana to make our lunch arrangements, we relayed to him our reluctance to leave. He instantly insisted on bringing lunch to us – anything we wanted. Of course the first thing out of the boys’ mouths was “how about shrimp cocktail?” Our butler nodded and less than a half an hour later, we were noshing on grilled vegetable pizza, smoky chicken wings, fresh fruit, assorted cheese and crackers – oh, and shrimp cocktail. Despite the mounded platter of fresh, plump shrimp, my boys were disappointed that they had to share with each other. “Only 20 shrimp each?!?!” they complained. Crazy. From that point on, we ordered at least two trays of shrimp daily. With the amount of shrimp that the boys ate during our vacation, we definitely got our money’s worth. Although they seemed to have gotten their fill of shrimp in Turks and Caicos, it didn’t take long after we arrived home before they started begging me to make shrimp. Who knew that tween boys could eat so much shrimp without getting tired of it?!?!
This recipe is great using either fresh or frozen shrimp. I often use frozen shrimp not only because it’s roughly $5 cheaper per pound, but also because many grocery stores sell previously frozen shrimp as fresh. If using frozen shrimp be sure to thaw, rinse, drain, and dry thoroughly before cooking.
Roasted shrimp can be served warm, at room temperature, or chilled making it a great choice for potlucks, fancy dinner parties, or a casual alfresco dinner.
- 2 lbs uncooked shrimp, devained and shell removed (31-40 count per pound, roughly 75 shrimp total (I had 77 - it's very important to count in my family to ensure even distribution :))
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (I LOVE California Olive Ranch Olive Oil)
- 1 - 1½ tsp kosher salt, to taste
- ¼ - ½ tsp freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
- Cocktail sauce, if desired
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees
- Meanwhile, blot shrimp dry with paper towels
- In a large Ziploc bag, combine olive oil, salt, and pepper; Add shrimp and toss to coat (you can skip this step and add all the ingredients to the shrimp while it is on the sheet pan, but I prefer to use a resealable bag to ensure that the shrimp are all evenly coated with oil and seasonings)
- Arrange shrimp onto sheet pan in a single layer, use two pans if necessary
- Roast for 4 minutes, turn shrimp, roast for 4 additional minutes; 8 minutes total
- Allow to cool slightly before handling
- Serve with your favorite cocktail sauce, if desired