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Skip the party and just enjoy shrimp cocktail

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The Associated Press
Tuesday, February 18, 2014 - 12:01 am

My favorite thing about fancy parties? They almost always include a shrimp cocktail appetizer — platters of giant, plump shrimp just 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. Shrimp cocktail is easy to make, can be done in advance.

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. This is essential to preserving the texture of the shrimp.

Shrimp cocktail with bloody mary sauce

This sweet and smoky, tart and tangy bloody mary sauce is so good you will want to drink it. Rim your serving dish with celery salt before serving for a special presentation and that hint of celery.

Start to finish: 20 minutes

Servings: 6

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

Fill a large (6- to 8-quart) stockpot halfway with water, then add 2 tablespoons of salt. Bring to a boil. Add lemons, then return the water to a boil. Add shrimp, turn off heat and cover pot. Leave shrimp in 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 shrimp to a large bowl. Add enough cold water to cover shrimp, then stir to cool them. When 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 sauce, in a medium nonreactive bowl, mix together ketchup, chili sauce, lemon juice and zest, lime juice, horseradish, pureed chipotle, vodka, Worcestershire 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 rim of a serving dish. Transfer cocktail sauce to a serving bowl and place in center of serving dish. Arrange chilled shrimp around edges.

Nutrition information per serving: 230 calories; 25 calories from fat (11 percent of total calories); 3 g fat (0.5 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 230 mg cholesterol; 14 g carbohydrate; 0 g fiber; 10 g sugar; 31 g protein; 1150 mg sodium.