Sunday, December 16, 2018

Jumbo Shrimp with Homemade Cocktail Sauce

Jumbo or colossal shrimp, poached or oven roasted, and served with a homemade cocktail sauce.
Shrimp Cocktail from Deep South Dish blog. Jumbo shrimp, poached, boiled or oven-roasted and served with a zesty homemade cocktail sauce.

Shrimp Cocktail

Don't you just feel fancy when you're at a restaurant where they still have a shrimp cocktail on the menu? I tend to order one when they are, but even when I don't, I kinda light up when I see somebody else get one delivered to their table. It's a little luxurious to me! Hey, what can I say. Those little small things make me happy! I had a bag of jumbo shrimp in the freezer that I needed to use so thought that it would be a good time to get a shrimp cocktail recipe up.

Sure, there's always basic cocktail sauce, simple lazy man sauce, or even super-flavorful Comeback Sauce, that we whip up in a hurry for our boils, and any one of those works just fine for dipping boiled shrimp. Yes, you can even buy it all bottled up for you at the grocery store, but when we have these nice, beautiful jumbo shrimp that we want to use for an appetizer - like for a holiday menu - well, they deserve a little step up, if you ask me!

I love lemon anything, and you'll always find fresh lemons in my fridge. A squirt of lemon in a sauce for pasta, and especially seafood versions, can really freshen it up, add some to a salad dressing, and certainly I love them in my sweet tea, but a good shrimp cocktail sauce calls for the extra zing of both the juice and the zest. If you aren't a big fan of lemon adjust to your own taste of course. This sauce also has a nice spicy bite with red pepper flakes, Cajun seasoning, hot sauce and horseradish, perfect for a cocktail appetizer, but adjust that also to your own taste, if you prefer things a bit milder.

These are jumbo shrimp fresh from the Gulf that my husband brought in shrimping, and I put up, which means they come with heads, shells and tails, perfect for when you want those shells to make stock. I left the tails on for presentation. Now that The Cajun isn't shrimping with his dad any longer, we mostly buy our shrimp right off the docks when the shrimp boats come in. It's just a matter of getting to the docks at the right time.

Weight on my shrimp recipes here on the blog are for raw, unpeeled, but headed shrimp, which is how I put them up, and likely how you'll buy them from a fish market. I do buy from local seafood markets too and yes, I even buy them frozen - though please for all that is holy, buy only American wild, preferably Gulf shrimp. Flip the package over and look for country of origin.  The imports may be cheaper, but you get what you pay for both in quality, food safety and taste - as somebody who has grown up on fresh from the Gulf  seafood and tasted those others, trust me on that!

This makes roughly 1-1/2 to 2 cups sauce for 4 shrimp cocktail. Increase as needed.

The sauce is very simple, but a perfect blend of flavors. As always, scroll further down the page for full recipe text with measurements, instructions and a printable document. Here's how to make it.

Combine some finely minced onion, celery and garlic with ketchup and chili sauce, a healthy hit of horseradish, lemon zest and juice, salt, pepper, Cajun, hot sauce and some fresh parsley.

Divide evenly into four shrimp cocktail cups, or in my case, dessert dishes!

There are several methods for cooking the shrimp when you are going to use them for a cocktail appetizer. Mostly shrimp are either boiled or blanched in the shell, then peeled as those are in the header photo.

For an amazing shrimp cocktail appetizer, I highly recommend roasting these jumbo shrimp instead. The flavor is out of this world and perfect for a shrimp cocktail. I've included instructions for roasting in the recipe, and for the more classic way of poaching them, down in the Cook's Notes at the bottom of the recipe text.

Shrimp cocktail pictured here is with poached shrimp served with this superb homemade cocktail sauce!

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Recipe: Shrimp Cocktail

©From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish
Prep time: 15 min
Cook time: 10 min

Total time: 25 min
Yield: About 4 servings


For the Sauce:

  • 1/4 cup minced onion
  • 1/4 cup minced celery
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 cup chili sauce
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons horseradish, or to taste
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning (like Slap Ya Mama), or to taste
  • Couple dashes hot sauce
  • 2 tablespoons lemon zest, or to taste
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice, or to taste
  • Pinch granulated sugar
  • Pinch kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon of freshly cracked black pepper
For the Shrimp:
  • 20 jumbo shrimp (10/15 count)
  • 2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon Creole or Cajun seasoning
  • 1/4 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
  • 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Whisk together sauce ingredients; set aside in refrigerator.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Pat shrimp dry and let rest at room temperature for 30 minutes. Line a rimmed baking pan with aluminum foil and place an oven safe rack on top; set aside. Peel and devein shrimp, leaving the tail tips intact if desired; place into a bowl. Toss with olive oil and seasonings; let rest for about 5 minutes then transfer to baking pan in a single layer. Roast, about 8 to 10 minutes, or until cooked through and pink in color, turning halfway through. Set aside to let cool. Spoon sauce into shrimp cocktail serving dishes or a margarita glass and line edges with four shrimp per serving, placing one shrimp in the center.

Makes about 1-1/2 to 2 cups sauce for 4 shrimp cocktail. Increase as needed.

Cook's Notes: May substitute frozen, already cooked shrimp. Thaw thoroughly in refrigerator, drain and pat dry. Toss with juice from 1/2 of a fresh lemon and any desired seasonings.

Poached Shrimp: Fill a large stockpot 3/4 full with water. Add 1 small onion, peeled and cut into quarters, 2 teaspoons each of Creole or Cajun seasoning and Old Bay, add 1 tablespoon each of apple cider vinegar and cooking oil, juice of half a lemon, adding lemon rind to water, 1/2 cup ketchup, 2 teaspoons of liquid Crab boil, 1 tablespoon kosher salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and let simmer 10 minutes. Return to rapid boil, add shrimp, return to boil, cover and remove from heat. Set aside 10 minutes, then check one shrimp and adjust soaking time as needed until shrimp is cooked through. Drain, cover with ice and let rest until cook enough to handle, then peel.

Party Appetizers: For a party, spoon cocktail sauce into individual shot glasses and top with one shrimp and a thin lemon wedge, or place 2 inches of ice into one large glass bowl. Place a smaller 2-cup size serving bowl in the center for the sauce. Fill in sides with ice, leaving enough space to top with shrimp. May also serve a spoon of cocktail sauce topped with chopped shrimp (or use smaller count shrimp) in cooked phyllo shells, however use a very thin later of whipped cream cheese on the bottom to keep shells from getting too soft.


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©Deep South Dish
Are you on Facebook? If you haven't already, come and join the party! We have a lot of fun & there's always room for one more at the table.

Check These Great Appetizers Out Too Y’all!

Party Shrimp
Spicy Crab Martini
Pickled Shrimp

Posted by on December 16, 2018
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