Sunday, July 15, 2012
I continue to boycott this incessant heat which has been plaguing the North East for the last several weeks by making two things: cold appetizers and cold cocktails, with a few other things thrown in here and there. Recently a concoction was created around these parts that somehow fills both functions, a part cocktail and a part appetizer. I blame it on the heat.
This recipe is for a shrimp cocktail with a vodka-infused tomato sauce. The sauce starts out as wanting to become an ordinary, decent cocktail sauce. And just like any well-meaning cocktail sauce it likes to hang out with its two pals, horseradish and lemon juice. What it doesn't know is that its two pals also sometimes like to hang out with tomato juice and vodka. So our friend gets a taste and things get a little carried away. It goes through several crises and realizes it has been missing some spice in its life, so it also gets a red hot cayenne pepper. And just like that, it turns into a Bloody Mary hybrid.
You can serve this appetizer as an ordinary shrimp cocktail, with shrimp and sauce on the side (or in a martini glass). However for most efficient and effective delivery of this sauce, porcelain Chinese soup spoons are best. They're perfect for single servings, avoid the issue of double-dipping, and can hold a sufficient amount of sauce to allow it to fulfill its promise of going straight to your head.
As always, feel free to adjust the proportion of the vodka to the sauce to suit your own preference for a stronger taste or one with less bite.
Bloody Mary Shrimp Cocktail
(makes 16 single servings)
You will need
16 medium to large shrimp, cooked, peeled and deveined
3 tbsp tomato paste
1/3 cup (80 ml) water
1 oz (30 ml) vodka
2 1/2 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 tsp horseradish
1/8 tsp sugar
salt and pepper to taste
cayenne pepper, to taste
jalapeño slices (optional, for garnish)
Whisk tomato paste and water in a measuring cup until smooth (the mixture should be of a somewhat thick consistency). Add vodka, lemon juice, horseradish, and sugar. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and cayenne. Place in a small serving bowl and serve as a dipping sauce for the shrimp; alternatively serve individually in porcelain soup spoons by adding about 1/2 tbsp of sauce into each spoon, topped with a shrimp and a jalapeño slice. Serve chilled.