Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Shrimp Cocktail, with Fresh, Homemade Cocktail Sauce: Another Perfect Appetizer for Thanksgiving

It always astounds me how much planning goes into Thanksgiving dinner- it's wonderful, awesome, joyful planning, but it's planning.  I think what really gets me is that it's planning for a dinner that by and large, the majority of America eats the same things for- Turkey, Stuffing, Potatoes (always a variety), Gravy, Cranberry Sauce, and something green.  Right?  Something along those lines?  Sure- we may vary up different facets of it, but for the most part it's a pretty standard meal. However, every year, about two weeks before Thanksgiving, my mom starts the menu planning.  Don't get me wrong- I totally understand-somehow even with the skeleton set, it is still a lot of details.  The biggest question is usually- what to do as a starter?  Yesterday I talked about Butternut Squash Bisque for an appetizer- and believe me it works. However, my family is more toying with the idea of shrimp for a starter course this year.  As soon as it was mentioned my mind went immediately to chilled, refreshing shrimp, dunked into a perfectly spicy cocktail sauce.  Heaven....

Of course, a bad cocktail sauce can ruin the whole thing right?  Pasty, flavorless, or even monotoned with one dominant flavor and shrimp cocktail goes from phenomenal to forgettable.  I decided to make my own so I could be sure of the right flavors as a test run.  I wanted really bright flavor, with a fair amount of contrast to it.

1/4 cup chopped yellow onion
2-3 chopped cloves of garlic
2 tablespoons extra spicy horseradish
juice of half a lemon
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
1/3 cup chopped tomato (fresh or canned)
salt & pepper

Add all ingredients into a food processor, blender or bowl to accommodate an immersion blender.  Combine until the ingredients are finely pureed.  Chill for for an hour (+), and serve with a plethora of cooked, chilled shrimp.  

While the color of this cocktail sauce is a bit, off, it's flavor is bright and spicy, full of freshness from the dill and the lemon juice and a bit of sweetness from the onion. After the shrimp were done, I started looking for other things to start dipping into this sauce.  Definitely a perfect start to a big Thanksgiving feast!


Meghan@travelwinedine said...

Mmm we always have shrimp cocktail on Christmas Eve. I love super spicy cocktail sauce, this looks great!

Mrs Thomas said...

I had this one Christmas in the late 1970's - it's nice to see some of the retro dishes making a comeback!

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