If you’ve never had Shrimp Cocktail, you have no idea what you’re missing. But it’s so expensive to order in a restaurant and so easy to make at home. And trust me, once you’ve made your own Shrimp Cocktail, you won’t ever order it again. Oh, you say…I can get some at the grocery store. Don’t even. No comparison. Let’s just say, I always have to buy an extra pound of shrimp when I make it for friends and family because I can eat a pound all by myself! This is the best Shrimp Cocktail you will ever eat.
2 pounds de-veined, shell-on extra-large or jumbo shrimp
2 1/2 tablespoons salt
10 sprigs fresh thyme
2 teaspoons peppercorns
3 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon celery seed
8 (2-inch) strips lemon peel plus 1/4 cup juice, from 2 lemons (reserve the lemon halves that have been juiced)
8 cups ice
Combine the shrimp, 4 cups cold water, salt, thyme, peppercorns, bay leaves and celery seeds in a large pot. Cook the mixture over medium-high heat, stirring every so often, until the shrimp are just beginning to turn pink, 5 to 7 minutes.
Remove the pot from the heat and add the lemon peels, lemon halves of the lemons that were already juiced. Cover the pot and let the mixture sit until the shrimp are completely pink and firm, 5 to 7 minutes.
Stir the ice into the pot and let the shrimp cool completely, about 5 minutes. The ice stops the cooking of the shrimp so they don’t get rubbery and tough.
Drain the water and peel the shrimp, leaving the tails intact. Refrigerate the shrimp up to 24 hours until ready to serve. If you can’t wait, keep them in the fridge until completely chilled.
1 cup ketchup
1/4 cup prepared horseradish
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Whisk all the ingredients together until combined. Store in the refrigerator until ready to serve with the shrimp. Lay out shrimp on platter and serve sauce on the side. Or you can hang the shrimp over a glass or parfait dish of cocktail sauce for a prettier presentation. Enjoy!
NOTE: If using frozen shrimp, be sure and thaw them completely before using.
NOTE: If you can’t find Old Bay Seasoning, you can make your own:
Homemade Old Bay Seasoning
1 tablespoon ground dried bay leaves
2 teaspoons celery salt
1-1/2 teaspoons dry mustard
1-1/2 teaspoons ground black pepper
1 teaspoon sweet or smoked paprika
1 teaspoon ground celery seeds
1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon ground mace
1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
Combine all ingredients and mix thoroughly. Store in an airtight container and store in a cool place. Use with seafood or chicken.
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