The DIY Steamer Alton Brown Uses For Shrimp Cocktail

alton brown close up face
alton brown close up face - Kelly Sullivan/Getty Images

Seafood lovers everywhere enjoy a delicious, fresh shrimp cocktail. It's one of the best ways to allow the quality of shrimp to shine, not to mention show off delightful sauces and accompaniments. But steaming the shrimp yourself can be a pain, especially for large groups, unless you take advantage of legendary chef and TV host Alton Brown's creative DIY steamer.

In a video discussing his shrimp cocktail technique, Brown mentions his go-to steaming apparatus, which he lightheartedly dubs "the Steel Lotus." It's a simple design that involves just three pieces — two folding metal steamer trays and a short piece of threaded metal stock. This stock can be screwed directly through the center of the two trays, creating a tiered steamer that can steam twice as many shrimp as normal trays.

Better yet, the steamer is easily disassembled, which makes it simple to clean, a crucial element when working with seafood. It's also compact to store, a must-have in many tightly packed modern kitchens. This innovative steamer is just one of Brown's best food hacks, revolutionizing how many home chefs prepare common dishes.

Read more: What Alton Brown Really Eats

Swap Steam For Boiling Water

metal steamer tray
metal steamer tray - Alp Aksoy/Shutterstock

It should be noted that many cooks choose to boil their shrimp for shrimp cocktail, including Alton Brown in the original version of his recipe. It's an understandable choice, as a quick process that offers the opportunity to infuse additional flavors via boiling water. However, Brown and others have concluded steaming produces a superior texture and a more shrimpy flavor that true crustacean connoisseurs will love. It's also more forgiving when it comes to the potential for overcooking and preserves nutrients that can be lost while boiling. Brown's recipe calls for just three minutes in the steamer, which is just a minute or less more than typical boiling times.

Now that you've mastered the art of a correctly steamed shrimp with the help of Brown's Steel Lotus, why not perfect your preparation of a zesty cocktail sauce to go with it? With these techniques, you'll create a delicious appetizer or hors d'oeuvre that will have guests or family members clamoring for more.

Read the original article on Mashed.