Jumbo shrimp with cocktail sauce will help make a holiday meal memorable

December 27, 1992|By Jimmy Schmidt | Jimmy Schmidt,Contributing Writer

Although caviar and smoked salmon have a strong following, I think the most popular holiday food may be icy jumbo shrimp.

Shrimp are graded by the number of pieces in a pound, and packed accordingly. Shrimp marked "U-10" means there are fewer than 10 shrimp per pound, while those marked "26-30" have more and smaller shrimp per pound.

Store shrimp on a cake rack in a pan. Place plastic wrap over the shrimp, then cover with flaked ice. Drain occasionally and refill with ice as necessary.

Even if you're not serving them for several days, cook them in the shell and refrigerate in an airtight container, peeling just before serving.

Chilled poached shrimp

Makes 30 shrimp.

3 cups cider vinegar

3 cups dry white wine

1 large onion cut into coarse pieces

1 bunch parsley stems

2 tablespoons hot crushed red pepper flakes

salt to taste

2 pounds of U-15 shrimp (heads removed)

lemon juice to taste

Tabasco to taste

2 cups cocktail sauce (see recipe below)

4 lemons, cut into wedges

1 bunch of parsley tops for garnish

In an acid-resistant pot, combine the vinegar, white wine, onion, parsley stems, red pepper flakes and 6 cups of water. Bring to a simmer over high heat and cook for 15 minutes to develop the flavor. Add salt to taste, making sure the flavor is pronounced, like the ocean. Replace any water that may have evaporated and increase the heat to high.

Add about half of the shrimp, making sure not to crowd the pot; cook until the flesh turns white or cloudy, about 6 minutes depending on size. Put shrimp in a strainer and drain under cold water until cool. Repeat with the remaining shrimp. Peel and devein the shrimp, rinsing under cold water just enough to remove any mud. Put shrimp in a bowl and season with fresh lemon juice, Tabasco and a pinch of salt. Transfer to a plate in a single layer, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.

Cocktail sauce

Makes 2 1/2 cups.

1 cup ketchup

1 cup chili sauce

1/4 cup tomato juice

1/2 lemon, juiced

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

2 tablespoons prepared horseradish

2 tablespoons snipped fresh chives

Tabasco to taste

Combine ketchup, chili sauce, tomato juice, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, horseradish and chives. Mix until well combined. Add Tabasco to your taste. Refrigerate in a sealed container for up to 1 week.

Knight-Ridder News Service

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