By Chris De La Rosa
While we’re lucky to have an abundance of fresh shrimp, directly out of the Caribbean Sea and to our door in most cases, I don’t ever recall ever having shrimp cocktail, growing up in the islands.
However it’s a norm now, when I go back and hit the restaurant and bar scene, during my travels across the region. Plump, juicy shrimp dipped in a thick cocktail sauce is definitely “my thing”. And I say my thing, as this is not your ordinary ketchup-plus-horseradish-plus-Worcestershire… kinda sauce, as you’re about to learn.
1 tablespoon cilantro (chopped finely)
1 small avocado (cubed)
1 1/2 tomatoes (diced fine)
2 scallions (chopped fine)
1 clove garlic (crushed)
1 lemon (juice)
1/2 lime (juice)
1/3 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup tomato ketchup
1 shallot (diced fine)
3/4 cup cucumber (diced fine)
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
1/3 cup celery (diced fine)
1 tablespoon horseradish (grated)
3 sprigs thyme (leaves chopped finely)
While it may take a bit more work, chopping the relevant ingredients manually, with a knife, I’d recommend not using a food processor, but that’s totally up to you. I say so as I like the different texture I get by spending the time to chop everything. Try to keep the tomato, celery, avocado and cucumber the same size. Go a bit finer with the scallions and shallot. And even finer, if you can, with the thyme and cilantro.
Grate the horseradish into a large bowl. If you cannot source fresh horseradish you may use the stuff in the bottle (it will be in the cooler section of your grocery store).
After this, you’re basically adding all the other prepped ingredients to the bowl. Add the lime and lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, salt and sugar. Yes the sugar is needed to help balance some of the acidity from the fresh tomato. Stir well and chill for an hour or so. I’d recommend tasting, after it’s been chilled, to see if you need some more salt to your liking.
For a quick fix, use the frozen (cooked) shrimp you can get at the grocery stores. Thaw, rinse with cool water and pat dry with paper towels. I used the shrimp whole (with the tails on) but you’re free to do things a bit different and give them a rough chop. Then mix into the cocktail sauce.
I used a bit of scotch bonnet pepper in the sauce for a needed kick, but this is totally optional. Do remember to wash your hands with soap and water after handling such hot peppers. There are times I also serve these in shooter glasses
This recipe is courtesy of Gourmand Award winning cookbook author and founder of CaribbeanPot.com, Chris De La Rosa. With over 450 printable recipes with step by step cooking instructions and demo videos, PLUS over 1 million social/fan connections globally every month, CaribbeanPot.com is the world’s #1 resource of Caribbean Culinary Culture. Connect with Chis on Instagram: www.instagram.com/caribbeanpot/.