In the wide wide world of food, there are classic dishes or offerings that have interwoven themselves into the very fabric of our culinary being. One of these classics is the shrimp cocktail. At its best, a shrimp cocktail is fresh and flavorful shrimp caught just off the shores of our country that is paired with a homemade cocktail sauce offering deep tomato flavors and hints of heat from freshly shaven horseradish. Often though, we are saddled with flavorless frozen shrimp imported in bulk and whatever cocktail sauce can be cheaply bought at a grocery store or sourced through a restaurants food purveyor.
For a delicious twist on this classic dish, we took the quality fresh seafood and tasty homemade cocktail sauce and kicked it up a notch or two with new seasonings and serving it in an unconventional manner. In this variation the cocktail is as much about how it’s served as what’s in it. Check out the recipe below:
Serves: 6-8 appetizer portions or 25-30 ‘shot’ portions
2 lbs. fresh Shrimp; peeled, deveined, and tails removed
4 ½ tablespoons lime juice
¼ cup good quality tequila
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 ½ teaspoons garlic salt
1 teaspoon fresh ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground black pepper
6 whole leaves of fresh cilantro
½ medium sized yellow onion – finely diced
½ cup finely diced celery
For Tequila Infused Cocktail Sauce:
1 cup Chili sauce
1 cup good quality ketchup
3 ½ tablespoons prepared horseradish
2 ¼ teaspoons fresh squeeze lemon juice
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
½ teaspoon tabasco sauce
¼ cup high quality tequila
½ cup shredded parmesan cheese
Combine olive oil, lime juice, tequila, garlic salt, cilantro, pepper, and cumin in bowl and whisk together until thoroughly mixed. Add shrimp to mixture and toss thoroughly. Pour into resealable freeze bag and put in fridge to marinate at least 4 hours, preferably overnight.
In the meantime to make the cocktail sauce, combine the chili sauce, ketchup, horseradish, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco, tequila, and parmesan cheese in a bowl and stir until thoroughly blended. Place in fridge to chill.
After marinating the shrimp pour bag into strainer, straining liquid into bowl. Set bowl aside. Heat pan on stove at medium high, adding 1 tablespoon olive oil, onion, and celery to pan. Cook until onion start to soften. Add shrimp to pan and sauté for 1 minute until shrimp start to turn pink. Add marinating liquid and cook for 2-3 minutes until shrimp are cooked (but not overcooked). Remove shrimp from pan and drain off extra liquid. Allow shrimp to cool for a few minutes and then roughly chop up. Place in bowl and put in refrigerator to chill.
Once the shrimp and the cocktail sauce have fully chilled they are ready to serve. There are a couple of different ways to serve this appetizer dish. You can put some of the cocktail sauce in the bottom of a shot glass and then spoon the shrimp mixture on top. This allows you to have fun ‘shooting’ the food. Or a maybe more sophisticated way would be to place approximately ¼ of cocktail sauce in the bottom of a martini or cosmopolitan cocktail glass. Add spoonful’s of shrimp to cover cocktail sauce and serve!