Shrimp Cocktail Sauce

One of my favorite appetizers is a classic shrimp cocktail.  If shrimp cocktail is on our menu, it's probably a special occasion. To be honest, I've always bought frozen precooked shrimp; I have yet to buy raw shrimp and boil it myself for shrimp cocktail.  I'm not afraid of boiling raw shrimp for shrimp cocktail.  The reason I haven't so far in my foodie journey is one of convenience.  Usually I'm making so much of the menu from scratch, that I need to make some convenience choices.  However, there is a line I do not cross.  I refuse to buy shrimp cocktail sauce. Pause for the gasp.  I know. Call me a shrimp-cocktail-sauce snob if you want to.  In my defense, any shrimp cocktail sauce I buy, whether it comes a jar or is included in a plastic shrimp cocktail container, is just too sweet.  I usually have all the ingredients on hand in my refrigerator, and this tastes so much better.  I promise.

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Shrimp Cocktail Sauce
1 cup ketchup
2 - 3 tablespoons of prepared horseradish
(I use all 3 tablespoons. Note: this is really all you need; the rest of the ingredients just make it a bit fancier).
1 tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce (optional - adds saltiness)
1 lemon cut in half, juice from lightly squeezed half of lemon (optional - adds brightness)
1 scant tablespoon of chili sauce (optional - adds sweetness)
dash of cayenne pepper (optional - adds a little heat)
seasoning salt for the shrimp (I used "Real Salt Organic Natural Season Salt")

1. Gather the shrimp cocktail sauce ingredients.

2.  In a small bowl add horseradish to 1 cup of ketchup.  I have stopped at this point.  You almost don't need anything else.

3. Add the Worcestershire sauce, the chili sauce, and the cayenne pepper to the mixture.

4. Finish the sauce with lemon juice.

Here is what I do with frozen cooked shrimp

1. Poke a couple of holes in the bag containing the frozen shrimp. Place the bag of shrimp in a bowl in such a way that the shrimp will drain into the bowl as the shrimp thaws.  Thaw the shrimp in the refrigerator overnight (24 hours).

2. Rinse the thawed shrimp in a colander, pat dry with paper towel, arrange shrimp on a platter and squeeze with the rest of the first half of lemon.

3.  Slice the remaining half of lemon as decorative pieces for the shrimp cocktail platter.  Take a pinch or two of your favorite seasoning salt, or old bay seasoning and lightly sprinkle the shrimp with the seasoning.

**** If you are planning on leaving shrimp cocktail out for more than 1/2 hour, you should plate them on ice.


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