Colorado Springs News, Sports & Business

No need for a party to have shrimp cocktail

By ELIZABETH KARMEL The Associated Press - Published: February 26, 2014

My favorite thing about fancy parties? They almost always include a shrimp cocktail appetizer - platters of giant, plump shrimp waiting to be dunked into a piquant cocktail sauce.

But there's no reason you have to wait for fancy parties to enjoy this treat. All you need is an excuse. And to me, there's none better than an Oscar viewing party. Best yet, shrimp cocktail is easy to make, can be done in advance, and you don't even have to cook the shrimp yourself (but it is better if you do).

My preference is for large or jumbo shrimp. The best shrimp are flash frozen within hours of being caught. This preserves the flavor and texture of the shrimp. Keep the shrimp frozen until just before you want to serve or cook them. When you are ready, thaw the shrimp under cold running water.

For shrimp cocktail, I cook the shrimp by a method that is closer to poaching. I want the shrimp to be fully cooked, but not overcooked and this is my fail-safe method. I boil a big pot of salted water and add fresh lemons just before adding the thawed shrimp. As soon as the shrimp are added, the lid goes on the pot and the heat is turned off until the shrimp are cooked, about 3 to 4 minutes for most jumbo shrimp.

Once the shrimp are cooked, I dunk them in cold water to stop the cooking. You know shrimp are perfectly cooked when the shells come off easily. Keep the peeled shrimp dry and cold in the refrigerator, then serve with homemade cocktail sauce. The bloody mary cocktail sauce here is one of my favorites.

SHRIMP COCKTAIL WITH BLOODY MARY SAUCE

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Yield: 6 servings

Kosher salt 2 lemons, quartered 2 pounds jumbo shell-on raw shrimp, thawed if frozen

For the sauce: 1/2 cup ketchup 1/2 cup Heinz Chili Sauce Zest and juice of 1 small lemon Juice of 1/2 small lime 1 heaping tablespoon prepared white horseradish (or more to taste) 1 teaspoon pureed chipotle peppers in adobo (or more to taste) 2 tablespoons (1 ounce) vodka 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce Pinch garlic salt Celery salt, for serving

Procedure:

Fill a large (6- to 8-quart) stockpot halfway with water, then add 2 tablespoons of salt. Bring to a boil. Add the lemons, then return the water to a boil. Add the shrimp, turn off the heat and cover the pot. Leave the shrimp in the water for 2 to 4 minutes, or until cooked through, pink and curled. The larger the shrimp, the longer they will take to cook.

Use a slotted spoon to transfer the shrimp to a large bowl. Add enough cold water to cover the shrimp, then stir to cool them. When the shrimp are cool, peel and devein them, then pat them dry and transfer to a platter or plate. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

To make the sauce, in a medium nonreactive bowl, mix together the ketchup, chili sauce, lemon juice and zest, lime juice, horseradish, pureed chipotle, vodka, Worcestershire sauce and garlic salt. Taste and adjust seasonings. If you like a lot of horseradish and chipotle, you may want to add more. The sauce can be made and refrigerated in a glass jar up to one week in advance.

Sprinkle celery salt around the rim of a serving dish. Transfer the cocktail sauce to a serving bowl and place in the center of the serving dish. Arrange the chilled shrimp around the edges.

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