Nothing says “special” like shrimp cocktail. I don’t know what it is about it, it just looks fancy. Done well, it’s the perfect simple, elegant appetizer. Not to mention it’s pretty healthy! It takes minimal prep, could be done ahead, and is definitely a crowd pleaser. Don’t forget to pin it for later!
Whether you’re hosting a New Year’s Eve bash, Easter dinner, a summer pool party, Thanksgiving, Christmas, a birthday party, or any other special occasion, you should be considering serving this appetizer.
In my rendition, I roast shrimp in olive oil, salt, pepper, and lemon wedges. The roasting adds a nice flavor as opposed to boiling or steaming. Heck, I roast everything because I LOVE the flavor it adds and I find it SO easy! You just toss stuff on a baking sheet, throw it in the oven, set a timer and bam! I said “so easy”, right? You can make the cocktail sauce ahead of time and refrigerate it. I generally wait to roast the shrimp right before serving, that way they’re served warm.
Use fresh or frozen shrimp. I’m easily squeamish to even the slightest off-smell of seafood, so I’m quite picky about mine. These days, my favorite shrimp is from Costco. Their two pound bags of frozen shrimp are phenomenal. They have no seafood-y odor (just as good seafood really shouldn’t). You can certainly purchase fresh, raw shrimp and just eliminate the defrost steps below. I prefer the de-veined, peeled type (with the tail on). It’s just easier to get them peeled and de-veined! When you’re entertaining, you’ve got enough other things to do, why not make it easy on yourself?!
Make it now or pin it for later!
- 2 pounds 21-25 count shrimp - frozen, raw, peeled, deveined, tail on
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- generous sprinkle of salt and pepper
- ½ a lemon, sliced
- ¾ cup ketchup (I use Sir Kensington's Classic Ketchup)
- 3 tablespoons prepared horseradish
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice (1/2 a juicy lemon)
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- Thaw shrimp. I like to place them in a large bowl in the sink and fill it with cold water. After about 15-30 minutes, they're thawed. I then drain them and dry thoroughly with kitchen towels.
- Preheat oven to 400 F. Toss "Shrimp" ingredients on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast for 8-10 minutes until shrimp are pink and just cooked through. Discard roasted lemon slices.
- Meanwhile, combine all "Cocktail Sauce" ingredients in a medium bowl and stir to combine.
- Pour cocktail sauce into a serving dish, and present roasted shrimp alongside. Garnish with fresh lemon slices.
Need another appetizer idea? Bacon Wrapped Dates with Goat Cheese and Sage never fail. Pin it for later!