Greetings blog readers! No excuse for my long hiatus. With the current busy state of my life, I think blogging may continue very sporadically. My kitchen equipment and I are still a team, though, and I’ve whipped up a few dishes worthy of sharing.
And this Shrimp Cocktail is definitely worthy of sharing, yet I’ve hoarded it in my files for almost two years now. I resurrected the recipe recently when Hubby requested this for his birthday.
My mom and my aunt, both stellar cooks, often include shrimp cocktail as an appetizer for holiday gatherings. This version blows away theirs, though. The shrimp only cooks for a few minutes in water combined with a multitude of flavorings, but it really absorbs the aromatics yet not overpoweringly so. Instead, the flavors subtly creep in and stay, providing a light and refreshing citrus hint.
The cocktail sauce provides a spicy kick. Now, I am not a huge fan of cocktail sauce, but I did allow my index finger to take a teensy tiny dip into the sauce for a taste, and I could feel that spice. Hubby, however, reacted by mumbling with a mouthful of shrimp, “Mmmmmm, that’s f@#!% good.” Yep, that’s my man for ya. But his reaction definitely informed me that this recipe goes in the winner pile.
Best of all, the recipe is easy to make. For the cocktail sauce, just stir together a few ingredients. As for the shrimp, add a few seasonings to water, heat, then cool. And you can prepare all of this a day or two in advance. Go ahead, add shrimp cocktail to your cooking repertoire and impress the heck out of your guests.
- 2 pounds jumbo shrimp, raw & deveined
- 4 cups water
- 2 1/2 tbsp. kosher salt
- 10 sprigs fresh thyme
- 2 tsp. peppercorns
- 3 bay leaves
- 1/2 tsp. celery seed (I bought from bulk bins at Sprouts since I don’t often use this spice)
- 2 lemons: cut 8 (2-inch) strips lemon peel
- 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (save the lemon halves for later)
- 8 cups ice
- 1 cup ketchup
- 1/4 cup prepared horseradish (not horseradish sauce)
- 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tsp. lemon juice
- 1/2 tsp. Old Bay seasoning
- 1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
- Rinse the shrimp. Devein if needed. In a large pot, combine shrimp, cold water, salt, thyme, peppercorn, bay leaves, and celery seeds.
- Cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until water reaches 170 degrees F and the shrimp just begin to turn pink, about 5-7 minutes.
- Remove pot from heat; add lemon peels, lemon juice, and the squeezed lemon halves. Cover the pot for 5-7 minutes, allowing shrimp to turn completely pink and firm as well as absorb the flavors.
- Stir the ice into the pot and allow shrimp to cool completely, about 5 minutes.
- Drain water. Peel shrimp, leaving tails intact. Refrigerate until ready to serve (can chill for 24 hours in advance).
- For the cocktail sauce, whisk together all ingredients until combined. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Can be made a day or two in advance.