It had never occurred to me to make shrimp cocktail at home. It is one of those things that you buy prepared for a quick and easy appetizer or meal that requires little to no prep. A sale on some shell-on shrimp and a request by Ali changed my mind. I was pleasantly surprised at how easy this was and the result was pretty great. This is really just like making one of my favorite things to make: stock. The shrimp ended up very tender and flavorful. This is one I may have to play with a little more and try out making cocktail sauce as well. We used the 365 brand sauce from Whole Foods. It was fine, I would give it a solid C, but there are better jarred options out there. One of the surprising parts of this recipe for me was the lovely stock created by draining the boiling liquid. That will be in the freezer ready for something fun soon! We served these with a lovely salad and some garlic toast. Overall, a satisfying and healthy meal!
10 cups cold water
1 large onion, halved
2 carrots, quartered
2 stalks of celery
1 head garlic, halved
1 lemon, halved
1/2 bunch parsley
5 sprigs fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon kosher salt
Pinch of cayenne pepper
1 pound medium or large shrimp, in the shell, split & deveined, rinsed
Put the water, carrot, celery, onion, garlic, lemon, parsley, thyme, salt and bay leaves in a pot and bring to a boil over high heat.
(Ok, so we were missing a few veggies, so I spiced things up a bit with some dried herbs.) Lower the heat to a simmer, set a cover on top slightly ajar, and cook for 10 to 30 minutes until fragrant. Drop the shrimp into the liquid and turn off the heat after 10 seconds.
Cook the shrimp, stirring occasionally, until they curl and turn pink, about 2 to 2 1/2 minutes for medium shrimp, 3 minutes for large ones. Drain and cool to room temperature. Peel the shrimp leaving the tails on. Refrigerate if not serving right away.
To serve put the cocktail sauce in a medium bowl and surround with the shrimp, or loop the shrimp over the edge of an individual cocktail glass and top with the sauce. Garnish with the lemon and serve.
P.S. Those are my grandmother’s shrimp cocktail glasses, yep just for this dish. I love that the vintage glassware still gets used in the family!