Help preparing shrimp and cocktail sauce

I have been tasked with preparing shrimp cocktail for main course.

I have two pounds of frozen, shell on, XL raw shrimp.

Would appreciate advice on cooking the shrimp and preparing a cocktail sauce.

Thanks everyone.

Basic cocktail sauce is just regular ketchup and horseradish. You want grated or “prepared” horseradish, not “creamed horseradish” or “horseradish sauce.” You could add a dash or two of Worcestershire sauce and a squeeze of lemon juice if you want to fancy it up, but IMO just the ketchup and horseradish sufficiently checks that box; YMMV.

Defrost the shrimp in cold water or in the fridge.

I would remove all of the shell except for some at the tail. Then steam or boil in small batches for about 4-5 minutes. If boiling in a big pot small batches are really not required, but if steaming you want to be sure the steam reaches the whole mass at once. You don’t want a big mess that is not getting cooked in the middle. You might want to experiment by cooking one or two for different lengths of time. XL is not really a defined size. They are probably in the 15-12 range.

When the shrimp are 75% defrosted, peel and devein them. Steam them until done (watching color). For cocktail sauce I combine ketchup, Worcester sauce, lemon juice, horseradish, Tabasco, salt and pepper.

Attractive plating makes all the difference.

Don’t skimp on the horseradish either. Make the sauce nice and pungent. The diners can always just use less of it if they wish.

^ Why would they do that? :wink:

How can they do that?

Do not skip this step. You can find instructions online.

The vein is not a vein. It is a poop tunnel. If you’ve got big shrimps it should be easy to do.

Anyone have a good technique for a deveining shrimp? I just cut a slit with a paring knife and pull the vein out with a paper towel, but it’s a very tedious task. The difficulty of deveining is the main reason that I don’t eat more shrimp.

I cut the slit with cuticle scissors, shell-on, then toss them into a colander. Once they’re all slit, the colander full of shrimp goes into the sink and each shrimp gets rinsed under the water. The “vein” usually just washes away most of the time. Not really that much easier, but easier.

I just slit and flip the vein out with the tip of the knife. It gets easier the more you do it.

I use a “deveining tool” that I’ve owned forever. A small knife works just as well. I prefer working before the shrimp have totally thawed, it seems to make things go quicker.

Make perfect whiskeycocktail sauce - much better then the stuff in a bottle- with a jar of mayonaise, half a bottle of tomato ketchup, and a tiny bottle of actual whiskey.


Those three ingredients and that’s it.

Here you go!- the Good Eats episode about shrimp, and in particular shrimp cocktail and cocktail sauce.

And I’ll second the deveining tool. They’re around $3.

Beats the crap out of a paring knife, that’s for sure.

I’ll have to try Alton’s recipe sometime. The smoked almonds sound interesting.

I run my thumbnail over the sand vein and rinse under a faucet.

If you’d like to devein without flaying there is a very clever technique with a skewer I’ve seen done.

They poke through just beneath the digestive track, on the back, just at the tail. Then pull straight up breaking through the top flesh and the digestive track will be pulled out like a thread. Keep in mind, it will take a couple of tries to get the pressure just right. But once you’ve got it, it’s a pretty slick and quick thing. There’s a YouTube video most likely.

Good Luck!

I’ve given up; I just buy deveined shrimp in the freezer section when it’s on sale.

No horseradish? That ain’t shrimp cocktail sauce.

That stuff’s made in New Amsterdam City!

Get a rope.