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At Cooking by the Book in New York City, we do culinary outward bound events. Firms come to our kitchen and prepare a meal together, often with kitchen challenges. Their night’s menu has been set in advance, from a quarterly menu featuring fresh seasonal ideas. We are always amazed when so many firms pick the same menu items. We can offer five appetizers, but 90% of the time firms will independently select the one same recipe.

This shrimp cocktail is an example. People are just intrigued by the idea of shrimp and tomatillo, they select it for their teambuilding gig here, and they are never disappointed.

There is something “special” about a shrimp cocktail. It always seems to be a treat. Now, with this recipe, you add some new flavor muscle. Once you’ve tried this recipe, it may just become your standard.

The sauce here is probably one you never had with shrimp before. Spinach? Honey? Rice vinegar? Amazingly good.

Shrimp Tomatillo Cocktail

Yield: serves 6 to 8


For the shrimp:

1 tablespoon coriander seeds
2 teaspoons black peppercorns
2 lemons, quartered
1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined

For the sauce:

12 tomatillos, cost and rinsed
1 large red onion, coarsely chopped
3 cloves garlic
2 jalapeno peppers
3 tablespoons canola oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
2 cups fresh spinach
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
¼ cup horseradish, drained


Prepare the shrimp. Combine 8 cups water, 2 tablespoons salt, the coriander and peppercorns in a large saucepan. Squeeze in the lemon juice and add the wedges. Boil 5 minutes, then remove from the heat. Add the shrimp, cover and set aside, about 15 minutes. Strain and transfer the shrimp to a bowl. Cover and chill at least one hour.

Meanwhile, make the sauce. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Place the tomatillos, onion, garlic and jalapenos in a roasting pan and toss with the canola oil. Season with salt and pepper. Roast until soft, tossing occasionally, 20 to 25 minutes.

Cook the spinach in a saucepan of boiling water, about one minute. Drain, squeeze dry and transfer to a food processor. Add the tomatillo mixture, vinegar, horseradish, cilantro and honey and pulse until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a bowl, cover and chill at least one hour. Bring to room temperature 15 minutes before serving. Serve the sauce and shrimp in shot glasses, if desired.

Source: Food Network Magazine