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Don't Americans have shrimp cocktails with creamy sauce?

ursy_ten Jul 1, 2011 05:21 AM

I'd had a notion that this was so, but going on a Princess cruise recently confirmed it.

The shrimp cocktails had a ketchuppy looking sauce, with no hint of cream!
I'm not knocking it, I'm just really interested in cultural differences.
Is this the standard all over the U.S.?

Shrimp cocktails (or prawn cocktails as we call them) in Australia have a creamier sauce, like Thousand Island dressing (sometimes it probably IS thousand island dressing, but not always). Sometimes the creaminess comes from mayonnaise, sometimes from cream. I like using cream in our cocktail sauce as the flavour is more subtle.

Which leaves me with another question - in the U.S., how do you use your thousand island dressing if not for shrimp cocktails?

What about other countries? What kind of sauce do you have your shrimp cocktails? What do you do with your thousand island dressing?

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  1. srsone RE: ursy_ten Jul 1, 2011 05:34 AM

    shrimp cocktail sauce for as long as i can remember is ketchup with horseradish....
    thats what my parents always made it out of anyway..and usually what u find here in the USA

    thousand island is either a salad dressing or with a reuben sandwich.... ime

    3 Replies
    1. re: srsone
      ursy_ten RE: srsone Jul 1, 2011 05:49 AM

      Googled Reuben sandwich - interesting, I might have to try it:

      The Reuben sandwich is a hot sandwich of layered meat, sauerkraut and Swiss cheese, with a dressing. These are grilled between slices of rye bread. The meat is either corned beef or pastrami, and the dressing is either Russian or Thousand Island dressing. Several variants exist.

      The picture on Wikipedia is quite scary - it's huge!

      1. re: ursy_ten
        srsone RE: ursy_ten Jul 1, 2011 05:57 AM

        yes theres a deli in New York city that makes one thats huge...the carnegie deli iirc

        1. re: ursy_ten
          huiray RE: ursy_ten Jul 5, 2011 08:58 AM

          That Wiki pic? It's of one at Katz's, presumably the one in Manhattan. As pictured, it's not that big. I've seen (and had) Reubens twice the size.

      2. u
        ultimatepotato RE: ursy_ten Jul 1, 2011 05:48 AM

        You're thinking of Marie Rose sauce, which we use in NZ just like Australia and, now that I live in the UK, I can confirm they use here too. Mayonaise and/or cream with tomato sauce, I think my mother gets all fancy on it and adds a bit of lemon juice and worcestershire sauce, which then takes it closer to the territory of Thousand Island.

        3 Replies
        1. re: ultimatepotato
          srsone RE: ultimatepotato Jul 1, 2011 05:59 AM

          when my dad would make 1000 island at home..it was ketchup,mayo and relish
          thats what he usually had on his salad at home...or eating out

          1. re: ultimatepotato
            ursy_ten RE: ultimatepotato Jul 1, 2011 06:04 AM

            Marie Rose sauce - thank you! I never knew it had a name.

            1. re: ultimatepotato
              Harters RE: ultimatepotato Jul 1, 2011 02:10 PM

              Marie Rose is a classic of the 1970s dinner party and, indeed, a stawart of wannabe pretentious restaurants of the time - mayo, ketchup, lemon in proportions to suit. Still pretty good when done well, vile when not. Prawn cocktail is still one of my partner's favourite starters which goes to support the old expression that you can take a girl out of Salford but never take the Salford out of the girl.

            2. l
              LauraGrace RE: ursy_ten Jul 1, 2011 05:59 AM

              Shrimp cocktail, as srsone says, means one thing here: cold shrimp served with cocktail sauce, typically a mixture of ketchup, horseradish, and lemon juice, sometimes with ground celery seed or other seasonings. The cocktail sauce is used as a dip, always, IME.

              Marie Rose sauce, Russian dressing, and Thousand Island dressing are all related to one another and are usually mayo-based. Most people here (again, IME) use Russian dressing or Thousand Island for salads or sandwich spread. Reubens are AMAZING, can't believe there are people who've never had them! They're a diner standard here. The Rachel is also delicious.

              1 Reply
              1. re: LauraGrace
                ursy_ten RE: LauraGrace Jul 1, 2011 06:06 AM

                Yep, I don't think we have Reubens in Australia. I will have to try one (guess I'll have to make it myself though 'cause I don't think I'll be able to order one anywhere)

              2. twyst RE: ursy_ten Jul 1, 2011 06:01 AM

                Most places its served with a ketchup and horseradish sauce. In the south you will often find shrimp remoulade in place of a traditional shrimp cocktail and that is a creamier sauce.

                1 Reply
                1. re: twyst
                  ursy_ten RE: twyst Jul 1, 2011 06:12 AM

                  Shrimp remoulade looks kind of similar, only spicier (though I found quite a bit of variation in recipes) - I think I like a lot about that Southern cooking...

                2. monavano RE: ursy_ten Jul 1, 2011 06:18 AM

                  IME. Shrimp Cocktail proper in the US is cooked shrimp served with cocktail sauce, which is ketchup and horseradish. It's typical "American" fare, but you can definitely find it served with more imaginative sauces such as a Creole Mustard, or Curry, or Remoulade.
                  Those are really fun, too, but the typical fallback is cocktail sauce.
                  I think what's funny, or well maybe not funny, but it's also typical for many people to buy the cocktail sauce premade and pay for the convenience of combining 2 fairly typical ingredients found in the fridge.
                  Oh, lemons for squeezing are typically an accompaniment, and perhaps a pooper scooper a la Tommy Boy ;-)

                  7 Replies
                  1. re: monavano
                    srsone RE: monavano Jul 1, 2011 06:21 AM

                    i dont remember ever buying cocktail sauce...i always remember us/my family making it...
                    like tartar sauce...i always make that myself also...

                    1. re: srsone
                      monavano RE: srsone Jul 1, 2011 06:26 AM

                      In the seafood section, the pre-made convenience sauces are always there. I like both ingredients so I always have them on hand. Easy peasy!

                      1. re: monavano
                        srsone RE: monavano Jul 1, 2011 06:29 AM


                    2. re: monavano
                      ursy_ten RE: monavano Jul 1, 2011 06:22 AM

                      I agree, when I started googling recipes for sauces sometimes I was amazed how many of them are so simple to make.

                      What's a Tommy Boy? I did google it, but didn't get anywhere with it!

                      1. re: ursy_ten
                        srsone RE: ursy_ten Jul 1, 2011 06:28 AM

                        Tommy Boy was a Chris Farley movie

                        u can find it on imdb

                        1. re: srsone
                          ursy_ten RE: srsone Jul 1, 2011 06:32 AM

                          Oh, thanks - I guess I was looking for a culinary reference!

                        2. re: ursy_ten
                          monavano RE: ursy_ten Jul 1, 2011 06:29 AM

                          Tommy Boy is a movie. Funny scene (gross-funny)-- basically refers to needing a pooper scooper to remove the black vein, like the shrimp just ate Thanksgiving dinner before it died!

                      2. f
                        fourunder RE: ursy_ten Jul 1, 2011 06:18 AM

                        The sauce you mention is often associated with Crab Louis/Louie as the condiment served. It usually has some variation of mayonnaise, Lea & Perrins, onions, lemon juice, relish, gerkins, capers, olives, chili, cayenne, tomato, and egg. It goes well with both shrimp and lobster as well

                        In the States it's known as Louie dressing regionally, especially on the West Coast, but can also be known as a French/Creole Remoulade.Sauce as twyst mentions above.

                        5 Replies
                        1. re: fourunder
                          ursy_ten RE: fourunder Jul 1, 2011 06:26 AM

                          Sounds fab. Going to google Crab Louie now :)

                          1. re: ursy_ten
                            fourunder RE: ursy_ten Jul 1, 2011 06:34 AM

                            If you decide to use hard boiled eggs for the dressing....rather than a simple chopping or mashing with a fork, I suggest instead you use the small/fine side of your box grater. It makes a noticeable difference in texture.

                            Also, slightly under-cooked egg yolks/eggs will make a creamier dressing as well

                            1. re: ursy_ten
                              fourunder RE: ursy_ten Jul 1, 2011 06:48 AM

                              Australian inspired?


                              1. re: fourunder
                                ursy_ten RE: fourunder Jul 1, 2011 06:54 AM

                                Isn't that funny - it's like we've come full circle or something!
                                It does look good, I'm going to have to try it.

                              2. re: ursy_ten
                                Bob W RE: ursy_ten Jul 4, 2011 10:32 AM

                                Shrimp/Crab Louie!


                            2. j
                              juli5122 RE: ursy_ten Jul 1, 2011 06:27 AM

                              I like both the traditional cocktail sauce and I make a creamy mustard sauce for shrimp cocktail. When I worked at a restaurant they used to make what they called European Sauce mainly served with chilled crab or lobster which was similar to a marie rose. I want to say it maybe had a little sherry in it as well. Very good either way.

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: juli5122
                                ursy_ten RE: juli5122 Jul 1, 2011 06:30 AM

                                Yes, I put a little brandy in ours, I think it makes all the difference.
                                Would you mind sharing the recipe for the creamy mustard sauce? I'm intrigued.

                                1. re: ursy_ten
                                  juli5122 RE: ursy_ten Jul 1, 2011 11:43 AM

                                  Sure , it is slightly sweet and really good with any chilled seafood. I know Joe's Stone Crab in Miami does one that is good as well but not sweet at all.

                                  Makes just over 1 Cup

                                  ½ Cup Mayo
                                  ½ Cup Sour Cream
                                  2 TB Guldens Brown mustard (no substitutions)
                                  2 TB Sugar
                                  ½ Tsp. Salt
                                  ¼ Tsp. Pepper
                                  1/8 Tsp Garlic powder
                                  1 Tsp. Sherry

                                  Combine mayo, sour cream and mustard and mix till smooth. Add seasonings. Adjust to your taste. Best if chilled for an hour or so to let flavors meld.

                                  1. re: juli5122
                                    ursy_ten RE: juli5122 Jul 1, 2011 09:32 PM

                                    Thanks so much - I'm looking forward to trying it

                              2. d
                                DPGood RE: ursy_ten Jul 1, 2011 06:49 AM

                                Shrimp cocktail is also served in other ways in the U.S. too, often with creamy sauces, although the standard "classic" way it's served is, as many have pointed out, with a ketchupy looking sauce, as you described it, with horseradish as part of it.

                                The many other ways of serving it with a creamy sauce have no widely-accepted names and may also be called shrimp cocktail too.

                                I had one the other night, called [firecracker] shrimp cocktail with a creamy adobe chili sauce. Good.There are many variations, not unusual, but none as ubiquitous as the "standard shrimp cocktail" you described.

                                There well may be variations in parts of the country too. We'll hear about them I'm sure. (I hope.)

                                4 Replies
                                1. re: DPGood
                                  ursy_ten RE: DPGood Jul 1, 2011 06:56 AM

                                  Thanks for your post - so if you order a shrimp cocktail and get a creamy sauce, would you be disappointed or somehow thrown off because it's not what you expected?

                                  1. re: ursy_ten
                                    DPGood RE: ursy_ten Jul 1, 2011 07:00 AM

                                    Would depend on what I was served. Most often, as when I ordered Firecracker Shrimp Cocktail the other night, it was clearly described on the menu.

                                    1. re: ursy_ten
                                      pdxgastro RE: ursy_ten Jul 3, 2011 03:10 PM

                                      I would expect a sauce with cream to be served warm. Cocktail sauce, with no cream, is served cold, to accompany cold seafood. If that makes any difference.

                                      1. re: pdxgastro
                                        paulj RE: pdxgastro Jul 3, 2011 05:27 PM

                                        A 'cream sauce', e.g. based on Bechamel, should be warm. But a 'creamy sauce' based on mayo (or other salad dressing) should be just as cold as a cocktail sauce.

                                  2. JMF RE: ursy_ten Jul 1, 2011 11:27 AM

                                    I started off with the classic US cocktail sauce of ketchup, horseradish, and a dash of Tabasco and as squeeze of fresh lemon juice. My recipe has changed, to the above I add a dash of maple syrup, celery seed, a little soy sauce, and either Huy Fong sriracha or Huy Fong chili garlic sauce.

                                    1. arktos RE: ursy_ten Jul 1, 2011 12:25 PM

                                      This is a pretty good creamyish Shrimp Cocktail recipe from the Sonora Coast of Mexico:

                                      3 Tbs Catsup
                                      1/2 cup Mayonnaise
                                      1 Tbs Lime juice
                                      1/.4 cup Celery, finely minced
                                      6 Serrano chiles, seeded and minced
                                      2 Green onions, minced
                                      1/2 tsp Salt
                                      1/2 tsp Black popper
                                      1/4 cup Cilantro, chopped

                                      Whisk the catsup into the mayo, add al the other ingredients except cilantro,
                                      chill the sauce, add chilled shrimp and toss with the cilantro.

                                      1. LorenM RE: ursy_ten Jul 1, 2011 03:08 PM

                                        When I worked in a restaurant we made it with chili sauce instead of ketchup, horseradish, Worcestershire sauce, and lemon juice. If I recall- some white pepper too and possibly some garlic?(not positive about that one). At home I buy the jarred stuff because I so seldom like horseradish in anything except cocktail sauce and don't need it hanging around.

                                        1. c
                                          chowmel RE: ursy_ten Jul 1, 2011 05:26 PM

                                          Growing up my father would sometimes make a shrimp cocktail with a creamy sauce that he called Lamarze sauce. He said it came from a famous hotel recipe but I was never able to find ant name of the sort. What ever it was , it was very good.

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: chowmel
                                            arktos RE: chowmel Jul 1, 2011 05:53 PM

                                            I suggest you try 'Googling' it. It's out there.

                                            1. re: arktos
                                              chowmel RE: arktos Jul 5, 2011 04:57 PM

                                              I had found it ages ago and forgot about it until your suggestion. Now when I see it, I remember the problem - its nothing like my father made ! He had the name but not the same ingredients. I'll try the online one - it may be good. Thanks.

                                          2. paulj RE: ursy_ten Jul 1, 2011 06:44 PM

                                            Seafood is often served with both cocktail sauce (ketchup plus) and tartar sauce (mayo plus relish).


                                            1. ursy_ten RE: ursy_ten Jul 1, 2011 09:35 PM

                                              Thanks everyone for your input - I like to acknowledge each post but I think it ends up cluttering the thread, so please consider yourself thanked, every one of you.

                                              1. monavano RE: ursy_ten Jul 3, 2011 03:17 PM

                                                Love Thai sweet chili sauce on shrimp, too.
                                                Don't agree (upthread) that cream sauces should be warm. I always dip cold shrimp into cold sauce, whatever it may be.
                                                And now I have to get some shrimp and try to make some Bang Bang sauce (Bonefish Grill) to go with it! Actually, that's hot shrimp with cold sauce, come to think of it.

                                                1. greygarious RE: ursy_ten Jul 3, 2011 04:09 PM

                                                  My mother was born in Germany almost a century ago and came to NY as an adult, where she was for a time a housekeeper so I assume she made shrimp cocktail according to the tastes of her Depression-era (but still well-to-do) employers. I learned it from her - never measured anything. A couple of tbsps of mayo stirred briskly in a bowl (if you don't, the rest tends not to blend well), then a little sugar stirred in. Add about a third of a bottle of chili sauce (the red stuff sold next to the ketchup) and a half tsp of prepared bottled horseradish. I use this as a regular salad dressing, too. It is a darker pink, and zippier, than thousand island.

                                                  1. m
                                                    masha RE: ursy_ten Jul 4, 2011 10:58 AM

                                                    I recall years ago being in Denmark and being served shrimp cocktail with a 1000-Island-like sauce that, as I recall, was called Rhode Island sauce. I thought it very ironic because, although I am not a RI native, I am not aware that such a sauce is traditionally served with shrimp in that state.

                                                    15 Replies
                                                    1. re: masha
                                                      Bob W RE: masha Jul 4, 2011 12:20 PM

                                                      Very interesting and curious. I grew up in RI and have never heard this term in my life. Shrimp cocktail was always a special dish and always served with the usual cocktail sauce.

                                                      It may be one of those things like English muffins and French dressing.

                                                      FWIW, Rhode Island was possibly named by a Dutch explorer named Adriaen Block.

                                                      1. re: Bob W
                                                        ursy_ten RE: Bob W Jul 5, 2011 02:37 AM

                                                        It might be a bit like the Australian Shepherd, which we don't have here in Australia :)

                                                        1. re: ursy_ten
                                                          Luna2372 RE: ursy_ten Jul 5, 2011 03:32 AM

                                                          A favorite creamy sauce for shrimp coctail at our house is mayo and sour cream in equal parts, then wasabi, soy sauce and salt and pepper to taste.

                                                          1. re: Luna2372
                                                            ursy_ten RE: Luna2372 Jul 5, 2011 03:48 AM

                                                            Thank you, that sounds like it could be quite amazing. I will have to try it!

                                                            1. re: ursy_ten
                                                              Luna2372 RE: ursy_ten Jul 5, 2011 03:54 AM

                                                              You're welcome. It has a great asian flavour, and you can adjust the heat to your liking.

                                                              1. re: Luna2372
                                                                huiray RE: Luna2372 Jul 5, 2011 08:55 AM

                                                                Uh, what do you mean when you say 'asian flavour'?

                                                                1. re: huiray
                                                                  paulj RE: huiray Jul 5, 2011 09:11 AM

                                                                  Luna's recipe includes wasabi and soy sauce. You could also get some idea of Luna means by doing a search for 'Asian' on the Vancouver BC board.

                                                                  1. re: paulj
                                                                    huiray RE: paulj Jul 5, 2011 09:36 AM

                                                                    OK, I just did. By-and-large the term on that board appears to refer to Pacific-rim nations on the continent of Asia, although most (but not all) discussions still tend to refer to "Chinese" of some sort in the aggregate. ONE O.P from the first page of results from that search did include India and Sri Lanka in his idea of "Asian". So, paulj (or luna2372), which is it, in Vancouver, for you?

                                                                    1. re: huiray
                                                                      Luna2372 RE: huiray Jul 5, 2011 06:30 PM

                                                                      I guess it would be Pacific Rim...Japanese, as Sushi places were where I first was introduced to it.

                                                                      But it has the horseradish kick of trad N.A. cocktail sauce. I tend to think of Chinese, as more of a five spice kind of flavour. Not sure what region that relates to in China.

                                                                      1. re: Luna2372
                                                                        paulj RE: Luna2372 Jul 5, 2011 07:05 PM

                                                                        Most wasabi is horseradish; real wasabi is relatively expensive, and has a more subtile kick than the common stuff.

                                                                        Vinegar with salt and sugar (plus some sesame) is a seasoning that is common in several (east) Asian countries, most notably Japan and Vietnam.

                                                                        1. re: Luna2372
                                                                          huiray RE: Luna2372 Jul 5, 2011 07:07 PM

                                                                          I see. Thanks.
                                                                          Just curious as to why you don't think of "Bengali" or "Persian" or "Turkish" or "Sri Lankan" etc besides "Chinese" or "Japanese" etc when you think of "Asian".

                                                                          1. re: huiray
                                                                            Luna2372 RE: huiray Jul 5, 2011 07:34 PM

                                                                            I guess I think of Persia, Turkey, Lebanon in the Middle East of flavour profiles. Raisons, saffron, nuts, olives, lemon. I know harrisa is large flavour component in these countries, but I have never tried it.

                                                                            And India, Bengal, Pakistan...Well I think of them a Indian

                                                                            1. re: Luna2372
                                                                              huiray RE: Luna2372 Jul 5, 2011 07:38 PM

                                                                              Yet all these places are in ASIA.

                                                                              When referring to Pacific-rim nations in Asia, why not say "East Asian" or "SE Asian", then, instead of the unmodified term "Asian"; or better yet call out the countries by name?

                                                                              Oh well. Thanks for your replies.

                                                            2. re: ursy_ten
                                                              paulj RE: ursy_ten Jul 5, 2011 08:19 AM

                                                              But you do have an Australian Terrier, don't you? :)

                                                              1. re: paulj
                                                                ursy_ten RE: paulj Jul 5, 2011 04:55 PM

                                                                Yes, that is true :)

                                                        2. EWSflash RE: ursy_ten Jul 5, 2011 07:35 PM

                                                          I've never even heard of a creamy sauce for shrimp cocktail. My favorite is a mexican style coctel de camaron, which is fairly thin tomato juice or sauce or Clamato with chopped tomato and chiles and cilantro and celery and onion. The chili sauce with lemon and horseradish is wonderful, too, but honestly, never heard of a creamy shrimp cocktail. Is it really thousand island dressing in Oz? It seems too heavy for a cocktail to me.

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