This easy shrimp cocktail recipe starts by bringing water, wine, lemon, parsley, bay leaves, and peppercorns to a boil. The liquid is then removed from the heat and the shrimp tossed in to gently poach. We skip the fussy ice bath and opt for easy cooling on a baking sheet. While the shrimp chill in the fridge, mix up a simple, classic horseradish cocktail sauce for dipping.
What to buy: When purchasing shrimp, the most reliable way to determine sizing is by the “count,” or number of shrimp per pound. For example, a 21/25 count means there are 21 to 25 shrimp per pound. For this recipe, you’ll need 2 pounds of 21/25-count shrimp.
Game plan: This recipe can be made up to 1 day ahead and refrigerated.
- 1Combine everything except the shrimp in a 4-quart saucepan or pot over high heat and bring it to a boil.
- 2Add the shrimp, stir, and remove the pan from the heat. Cover with a tightfitting lid and let sit until the shrimp are opaque and just cooked through, about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, line a baking sheet with paper towels and set it aside.
- 3When the shrimp are ready, drain them in a strainer set in the sink. Transfer them to the prepared baking sheet and arrange in a single layer, removing and discarding any solids from the poaching liquid that have stuck to the shrimp (discard the contents in the strainer as well). Let sit until cooled to room temperature, about 10 minutes
- 4Transfer the shrimp to a large bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate until chilled, at least 1 hour and up to 1 day. Meanwhile, make the cocktail sauce.
For the cocktail sauce:
- 1Stir all the ingredients together in a medium bowl. Taste and season with more pepper as needed. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and chill until ready to serve. Serve the shrimp with the sauce for dipping.