by Paul Cormier, Salamanders of Kemptville
I am definitely old fashioned. All that means is that I remember many of the treats we had in yesteryear and enjoy recreating that special flavour. One of the most enjoyable treats in my memory’s repertoire is the traditional Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail: please, not with 4 jumbo shrimp, but with 6, white-pink and beautiful and laid out on a bed of sliced lettuce in a Shrimp Cocktail dish (if you have one) or a large wine glass, if you don’t. Also, another blast from the past involves pairing your Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail with an ice-cold Chardonnay, oaked or unoaked according to your taste. Mind you, a Singapore Sling ain’t bad either.
Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail (for 2)
12 jumbo shrimp (you can buy
them frozen quite safely)
½ cup of finely sliced lettuce
2 lemon wedges
Some capers, if you wish
¼ cup catsup
6 tablespoons horseradish
6 tablespoons HP sauce
Several vigorous dashes of Worcestershire Sauce
A half a dozen drops of Tabasco Sauce
A couple of tablespoons of lime or lemon juice (whatever you have in stock)
Boil and peel the shrimp till they turn pinkish white (please do not overcook)
Chill for at least an hour
Mix all of the Cocktail Sauce ingredients together with a fork and chill (also for at least an hour)
When ready and just before serving, line the bottom of your 2 cocktail dishes with the sliced lettuce
Gently pour some of your cocktail sauce over the lettuce and place some capers over top
Place the shrimp in your dishes, heads in, in a circle with the tails forming a fan (make it look pretty, please…)
Garnish with piece of lemon for each dish
Place any leftover cocktail sauce in a separate dish for extra dipping
Do all of the final preparation from 4 above onward in front of the person who is going to share with you, maybe have them open and decant the wine.
You may want to turn on some background music; Vivaldi’s 4 Seasons is nice, but so is some Ella Fitzgerald.
How to eat:
This dish is meant to be savoured, not devoured. It is also best eaten as a finger food, which means, only use your fork to capture some sauce-laden lettuce. This may sound terrible to some of you but I eat the whole shebang, finishing with the lettuce “tarted up” with the cocktail sauce as a salad. Now, for those who insist on modernizing this traditional dish, you can also use Tzatziki instead of cocktail sauce. Oh, and don’t forget the wine and such, eh…
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