Shrimp Cocktail

I tell a whole lot of stories about my mom and my brothers. It’s not that I don’t have absolutely phenomenal stories about my dad, because believe me, I do. It’s just that not that many of my childhood food stories involved my dad. He was around for every sporting event and bedtime story after working his a$$ off all day, but he wasn’t around that often for dinner.

While he totally thinks he can cook, all my father food memories revolve around the fact that really can’t or his time spent around the barbeque. Sorry dad, but you are totally a one trick pony. You are great at that trick, but that’s all you have up your sleeve.

With all that said, there is one dish that COMPLETELY reminds me of my dad. Shrimp cocktail. I know that is super random, but personally, I love a really well done shrimp cocktail. My mom and my brothers always poo poo the idea of sharing it with me, but my dad is always down.

He even took me to the iconic Peter Luger Steak House in his hometown of Brooklyn, New York to share with me some of the best shrimp cocktail in the world.

At eighteen, I hadn’t hit my wannabe foodie stride and did not appreciate the prime rib, but I drooled all over that shrimp cocktail.

So, when I needed a third appetizer for my New Years Eve party, I did a major head slap that I hadn’t thought of the simple shrimp dish earlier. What a dunce.

And, I know I say this a lot, but this was really REALLY easy. Can you turn on an oven? Can you measure and mix some ingredients?

Can you salt and pepper some shrimp and set a timer for eight minutes?

If you can’t, you should probably walk away from the computer, walk over to a mirror and look look at your life, look at your choices.

If you can, for the cocktail sauce you will need…

½ cup chili sauce (I had no idea what this was, but Heinz makes one and it is with the condiments)
½ cup ketchup (if you don’t know what this is, I’m scared)
5 tablespoons prepared horseradish
2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
couple of dashes of your favorite hot sauce

Mix all the ingredients in a bowl. How spicy you like your sauce is a personal preference. Remember you can always add spice but you can’t take it away. So, as you are mixing, taste often. I like mine with a little more kick so I added quite a bit of horseradish. When you are done mixing, refrigerate.

For the shrimp…
2 pounds pealed and deveined shrimp (you can do this yourself, but I don’t really enjoy it)
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 lemon sliced into wedges

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Toss the shrimp in a bowl with the salt, pepper and olive oil until they are all slightly coated.

Spread them out a baking sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes or until firm.

My oven is quite mighty so 8 minutes was perfect. Be careful not to overcook them because then they will be too chewy.

For the perfect presentation, take a margaritas glass or a martini glass and fill it with the cocktail sauce. Line the glass with the curly shrimp and serve with lemon wedges. Make sure you put out a bowl or plate for the shrimp tails.

Unless you have a friend like my friend Julia. She eats shrimp tails. Weird.

Love and Beer Floats

P.S. Love you Julia!