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It’s hard to pass up a cold shrimp. Or three or four. This “appetizer” is one that can serve you well multiple ways. As suggested, you can make it an elegant cocktail appetizer, nestling the shrimp and sauce in a shot glass to let the red and green colors sparkle for your guests.

Or, you can present the shrimp on a bed of greens, or even rice, and then adorn with the sauce. You then have the main course centerpiece for a lovely brunch or dinner. If you go that main course route, you’ll want to add another pound of shrimp to serve 8.

The shrimp taste, surprisingly, like shrimp. The sauce makes the dish. It’s a great combination of flavors with tomatillo accented with more heat from horseradish yet mellowed with honey. You tongue will be working overtime to figure it all out. That exactly makes for an interesting dish!

The Gulf oil spill is winding down. Those hardy Gulf fishermen are back in their boats. It’s time to put the shrimp back on our tables.

Shrimp-Tomatillo Cocktail

Yield: 6 to 8 Servings


For the Shrimp:

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

For the Sauce:

  • 12 tomatillos, husked and rinsed
  • 1 large red onion, coarsely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 jalapeño peppers
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups fresh spinach
  • 3 tablespoon horseradish, drained
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon honey

Prepare the shrimp. Combine 8 cups cold water, 2 tablespoons salt, the coriander and peppercorn 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 1 hour.

Meanwhile, make the sauce: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Place the tomatillos, onion, garlic and jalapeños in a roasting pan. Toss with the canola oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast until soft, tossing occasionally 25 to 35 minutes.

Cook the spinach in a saucepan of boiling water, about 1 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 1 hour. Bring to room temperature 15 minutes before serving.

Serve the sauce and shrimp in shot glasses, if desired.

Source: Food Network Magazine