Saturday, August 14, 2010

Roasted Shrimp Cocktail

We had to go to our annual HOA meeting a little over a week ago. It's funny, really. Our HOA is comprised of 9 homeowners (2 of which are never here) over the age of 50, except us, and is held at our closest neighbors house ever year during the summer. Everyone brings an appetizer (although I wish I had dessert duty) and drinks wine. That's mostly what we do. We drink and eat and eventually call the official meeting to order. It lasts all of 10 minutes, complete with motions and "I"'s and then we all go home to our respective houses.

This year I brought this roasted shrimp cocktail. I had to step it up since last year I totally copped out and brought bread and pre-packaged dipping oil. I forget what I had going on last year but it must have been huge for me to take that desperate route. Ah, but tis necessary sometimes isn't it?

I'm obsessed with cocktail sauce. Let's start there. My Grandpa Grillo makes great cocktail sauce and so this is his recipe, although it is so simple I don't really understand why people buy the pre-bottled stuff. Maybe because cocktail sauce using ketchup for a base is gross (in my opinion) and that's what most recipes call for. This cocktail sauce's base is made from a bottle of Heinz Chili Sauce, which you can find above the ketchup in most supermarkets (unless you are Steamboat's Safeway, argh!) That's what it's called and I have no idea what you are supposed to use it for (chili?) other than making outstanding cocktail sauce. It's fresh and not sweet like ketchup so it's an ideal match for perfect cocktail sauce. Is it just me or have I written the phrase "cocktail sauce" way, way too many times already? Add fresh lemon juice and horseradish and it's done.

Shrimp cocktail might just be my very favorite appetizer. I love big juicy, meaty, cold poached shrimp that usually accompany cocktail sauce that you order in restaurants. However, I find it's sort of hard to poach shrimp perfectly at home. Not to mention rather time consuming considering you should poach shrimp with the shell on, then peel them after they cool and then refrigerate them till cold. It's much, much simpler to open a package of peeled and deveined shrimp, tail on, and roast them for a couple minutes and serve at room temperature.

Roasted Shrimp Cocktail
method adapted from Ina Gartens, Back To Basics. Cocktail sauce from my Grandpa


2 pounds medium shrimp, peeled and deveined*
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper


1 bottle Heinz Chili Sauce
the juice of 1/2 a juicy lemon
3-4 tablespoons horseradish (I used prepared horseradish)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees

Place shrimp on a sheet pan with the olive oil, salt, and pepper and spread them in one layer. Roast for 4-5 minutes, just until pink and firm and cooked through. Set aside to cool.

For the sauce combine the chili sauce with the lemon and horseradish. Stir to combine and taste. If you like it spicier, add more horseradish to taste.

Serve the shrimp and sauce on a platter with a few lemon wedges for squeezing.

serves 6-8

*If you are using larger shrimp (like 12-15 count) great! I would have too except they are hard for me to find. In that case, roast for 8-10 minutes.

This appetizer is delicious and quick. As Ina would say "how easy is that?"...actually, I just found out she has a new cookbook slated to debut this Fall under the title "Barefoot Contessa (wait for it) How easy is that?" HA! I laughed out loud to myself. If I had a nickel for every time Ina said that phrase during one of her shows, I'd have ten bucks. Five at least.