I love seafood and shrimp is my favorite shellfish. But cooking shrimp properly had always been a bit of a mystery to me. My cooked shrimp were either over-cooked or underdone, flavorless or dangerously raw.
Recipes always tell you to cook shrimp for a certain time but seldom specify the size of the shrimp. This is what leads to the disparate done-ness of shrimp. Larger shrimp take longer to cook and even within sized bags of shrimp there is variation. Broiling, grilling and baking will invariable lead to overdone shrimp, although there have been recipes that have led to under-cooked shrimp with these methods.
Since shrimp are mostly served cold at parties or as shrimp cocktail, there is a means of cooking shrimp that guarantees just right shrimp. Most recipes that ask you to boil shrimp will also give you a time that is not guaranteed to cook all the shrimp. Yet boiling is the best way to fully cook shrimp.
Instead of watching the clock, one needs to watch the pot. Uncooked and frozen shrimp will all sink to the bottom when first introduced to boiling water. As they thaw and eventually cook, they will pop to the surface. You must immediately skim them off the surface of the water to avoid over-cooking. Serve immediately if serving pick and peel or toss into ice water if serving later.
No one told me about this little trick; I had to figure it out for myself. I hope it helps you get over your fear of serving shrimp at your next party or of eating shrimp in general.