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Chef John's Shrimp Cocktail

Chef John

"Before I knew much about food or dining out, I knew that if they brought shrimp cocktails to the table as an appetizer, we were eating at a 'fancy' restaurant. I'm sure I enjoyed the shrimp, but what I really loved was dipping the crackers in the spicy, horseradish-spiked cocktail sauce."
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50 m servings 306 cals
Original recipe yields 4 servings

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  1. Stir water, onion, lemon, garlic, tarragon, seafood seasoning, peppercorns, and bay leaf together in a large pot; bring to a simmer and cook until flavors blend, about 15 minutes.
  2. Whisk ketchup, chili sauce, horseradish, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, and salt together in a bowl; refrigerate until chilled, at least 15 minutes.
  3. Bring poaching liquid to a rapid boil. Cook the shrimp in the boiling liquid until they are bright pink on the outside and the meat is no longer transparent in the center, about 5 minutes. Transfer shrimp to a bowl of ice water and immerse in ice water until cold; drain. Arrange cold shrimp on a platter and serve with chilled sauce.

Nutrition Facts

Per Serving: 306 calories; 4.3 g fat; 18.9 g carbohydrates; 47.7 g protein; 345 mg cholesterol; 1415 mg sodium. Powered by the ESHA Research Database © 2018, ESHA Research, Inc. All Rights Reserved

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Read all reviews 51
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This was a fantastic way to season up shrimp. I've never done this before and now I will always season like this. Perfect flavor and the recipe was right on.

This is exactly like you would expect from a high end seafood restaurant. I know, I worked in one for many years and this is EXACTLY like we would serve our customers! The cocktail sauce is s...

Thank you so much! Only way I will prepare shrimp cocktail from now on! Only change I made was adding a little dried tarragon instead of fresh. I didn't have fresh. The shrimp were cooked per...

I've always bought shrimp chilled and cooked. Never again! I made these for Thanksgiving appetizers and guests raved over them. Lot's of "these are the best shrimp I've ever eaten!" I bought f...

This was fantastic! I have made shrimp cocktail a few times but it was missing "something". This recipe hit the nail on the head for us and was most like what you order in a restaurant. Only c...

I made it exactly as directed to see if it was worth the "trouble." When cooking the shrimp, make it easy on yourself. 5 minutes is perfect and don't measure anything. That's what I did. I also ...

Follow this recipe to the letter and you will take your shrimp cocktail to a whole notha level! 5 minutes was spot on for perfectly boiled shrimp that will melt in your mouth.

This IS the best way to prep shrimp fpr simple shrimp coctail. Whole family loved it. Even my dauaghter-in-law said it was the best she ever had!!

Perfect technique, excellent shrimp.