Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >
Feb 2, 2007 04:30 PM

Help, I am afraid to make shrimp cocktail.

I am seafood phobic but my husband is craving shrimp cocktail for the Super Bowl. I am at a complete loss here. Do I buy fresh or frozen? What size? What is the story with the vein thing? I need help. Can someone please walk me through the whole process (shopping, cleaning, cooking, chilling, storing, garnishing)?

Also, is there a way that I can "cheat" by not making it at home? I hate the smell of shrimp boiling. (Oh the things you do for love). Thank goodness for scented candles!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. If you absolutely hate the whole idea of buying shrimp, cooking, peeling, deveining, you can buy it frozen, precooked and shelled from Costco. Buy the largest ones you can, the fewest number per pound. It's in a bag, not the one already in a round w/ the sauce. Trader Joe's has them, too. It's not too hard to buy them raw and prepare but peeling and deveining takes time, and if you're a seafood phobe, might not be worth it.

    If you do want to make it yourself, this is a good recipe for both:

    1. May I also suggest that you go above and beyond the call of duty and make your own cocktail sauce from scratch.
      Here is my recipe:
      1 cup ketchup
      1/2 cup prepared horseradish (or more to taste)
      2 tablespoons lemon juice
      2 tablespoons worchestershire sauce
      two splashes tabasco
      a grind or two fresh pepper
      Stir all together and chill.

      Have a great party!

      1 Reply
      1. re: OneJayneDoe

        My cocktail sauce is a bit simpler:

        Heinz chili sauce
        prepared horseradish
        lemon juice

        I play it by eye and taste as to the proportions.

      2. This really shouldn't be as difficult as you are making it out to be. Most supermarkets carry these "shrimp rings"...already prepared shrimp cocktail with a well in the middle for the sauce. You should be able to find this in the seafood section of the market.

        Now, if you want to make some, the easiest thing to do is buy deveined tiger shrimp. Some markets sell them already defrosted (most shrimp is frozen anyway) and you can buy them by the pound or sometimes they sell 2 pound bags still frozen. Just take it home, boil up a pot of water, put in the shrimp, shell and all, then remove from heat when the shrimp turn pink and either run cold water in the pot to stop the boil or have a cold water bath ready to put the shrimp in to stop the cooking process. Once the shrimp are cooled off enough, peel off most of the shell, just leaving the tail end on to use as a handle.

        If some of the shrimp still have that black vein running in the back, (they shouldn't but you never know), just run the shrimp under running cold water. You can drain all the water, place shrimp in a baggie and refrigerate until you need them. This whole process is done in no time and can be done a day ahead.

        Now the best part of the cocktail is the sauce. Rather than buying the premade stuff, get a jar of prepared horseradish and a bottle of catsup and mix some of each together to make your own. Tastes much fresher and you can control the spice of the horseradish by adding more or less.

        1. Many supermarkets will steam fresh raw shrimp for you. Ask at the seafood counter. You can also probably buy cooked shrimp that is deveined as well.

          Then, you don't have to worry about cooking it yourself.

          Also, follow the advice above of combining prepared horseradish and ketchup. Easy and you can adjust the spice to your hubby's taste.

          1. Don't forget to add chopped/minced celery to the shrimp and sauce.