Most families have their traditions when it comes to holidays and in my family on Thanksgiving that means shrimp cocktail. My parents never celebrated the holiday growing up so when it came time to make a family tradition we decided to just to do the things we like – which is eat. Before the Thanksgiving meal we spent most of the day snacking. The snacks change most years but one of the key parts of Thanksgiving was eating shrimp with cocktail sauce.
When I was growing up we got the frozen pre-cooked shrimp which don’t have a lot of flavor. They were mainly a vehicle for cocktail sauce although at the time that was also overly sweet and not spicy enough. I haven’t had the opportunity to spend Thanksgiving with my family the last few years and I’ll admit, I forgot about the shrimp-and-cocktail sauce tradition. But since this year I’m lucky enough to have my parents over for the holiday, this dish is a must. And it’s going to need an upgrade.
I’m sorry to say but the shrimp still aren’t the exiting part of this dish. While I won’t be overcooking them, they’re still going to play second-fiddle. The star is the cocktail sauce. I like it spicy with horseradish and cayenne and extra-tart from lemon. Even if you want to tame the flavors, it’s still better than anything you can get in a jar.
1 cup ketchup
¼ – 1/2 tsp cayenne powder
2 tbs to ¼ cup horseradish
Juice of one lemon
Combine all ingredients in a bowl or container and mix well. You can eat the sauce immediately but I’d recommend letting it sit for at least a day for the flavor to intensify. The heat will build while it sits.