Brining the shrimp adds a complexity and added flavor to this traditional appetizer.
This improved take on the classic shrimp cocktail recipe is modified from my 'old boss' Alton Brown. I spent four glorious seasons working with Alton and the entire "Good Eats" gang as an editor, animator, post production supervisor and on screen actor. Yes, working on the series was as much fun as it looked.
You can broil / grill the shrimp the day before you serve if you’d like. Simply drop the shrimp from the oven / grill into a chilled bowl that’s sitting on ice. Then put them in a ziploc bag (shells still on) in the fridge overnight. Peel the shells off just before serving.
This recipe is slightly modified from Alton Brown.
Prep, Cook, Servings
Prep: 45 min. (including brining) 10 min cook.
32 shell-on (21 to 25 count) tiger shrimp
1 tablespoon olive oil
Sprinkle Old Bay seasoning
For the brine:
1/4 cup kosher salt
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup water
2 cups ice
For the cocktail sauce:
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained
1/2 cup prepared chili sauce
4 tablespoons prepared horseradish
1 teaspoon sugar
Few grinds fresh black pepper
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
Using a pair of scissors or a serrated knife, make an incision down the backside of the shrimp, following the intestinal track. Eviscerate shrimp and rinse under cool water leaving shells intact.
Place cleaned shrimp into a bowl with brine and refrigerate mixture for 20 to 25 minutes. While shrimp are brining, place tomatoes, chili sauce, horseradish, sugar, pepper, and salt in food processor and blend until smooth. Refrigerate cocktail sauce until ready to serve.
Place a baking sheet or broiler pan under oven broiler and preheat for 5 minutes OR turn on your gas grill to medium heat.
Remove shrimp from brine and drain thoroughly. Rinse the shrimp under cold water and dry on paper towels. In a large bowl, toss shrimp with olive oil and sprinkle with Old Bay seasoning, if desired.
Place shrimp onto a sizzling sheet pan and return to broiler immediately, or if you’re using your grill, simply lay the shrimp right onto the grill. After 2 minutes, turn the shrimp with a pair of tongs.
Return the shrimp to broiler for 1 minute. Transfer to a cold cookie sheet. Refrigerate immediately.
Once shrimp have chilled, arrange with cocktail sauce in a martini glass or as desired, 3 to 4 per person depending on the size of the shrimp.
While the recipe calls for broiling the shrimp, I use the gas grill outside to cook these. Set the grill to medium heat and allow to warm up for about 5 minutes, and just cook straight on the grill without the need for the sheet pan.
In the summer time, I prepare grilled shrimp using this same recipe. Just pull them off the grill and serve immediately.