Mama Mia, That’s A Speecy-Spicy Cocktail Sauce

By • March 26, 2011 • 34 Comments

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Author Notes: When I was growing up, one of my favorite dinners was seafood. My dad would stop at our favorite seafood shop on his way home from work and buy boiled shrimp, crabs and crawfish. We’d spread newspapers over the kitchen table, and my siblings and I had contests to see who could peel the most shrimp and make the biggest pile of shells. We each had our own style. My brother and sisters and I would blow through and eat as fast as we could peel. My mother would peel several shrimp at a time and set them aside on a dainty plate and make herself a shrimp cocktail. My dad would challenge us to suck the crawfish and shrimp heads (which we pretended to think was disgusting, but was actually really good), and taught us how to tell male from female crabs (and if you got a female and were lucky, you’d get the roe as well). Cocktail sauce was always home-made, and always had lots of horseradish. Here’s my version.
(Proportions are to taste—feel free to play with it.)
drbabs

Makes about a cup

  • 3/4 cup ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons prepared horseradish (I use Gold’s extra hot)
  • zest and juice of one lemon
  • 5-10 drops Tabasco (add a few drops at a time till it’s as hot as you like)
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • a few turns of fresh ground black pepper
  • A pinch of red pepper flakes (optional, in case you need more heat)
  1. Stir everything together. Taste it—it’s good! And adjust seasoning to your taste.
Jump to Comments (34)

Tags: hot, New Orleans, seafood, spicy

Comments (34) Questions (0)

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about 2 years ago calendargirl

Oh drb, don't know how I missed this before... just brought home some shrimp and realized I needed cocktail sauce for it. This is great. Thank you so much! BTW, the photos are super and you are adorable in your checked dress and face-framing waves!

Steve_dunn02

over 3 years ago Oui, Chef

Wow....y'all haven't changed a bit! Great sounding sauce, too. - S

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over 3 years ago Stockout

If nothing, my fair lady, your stories are worth more than your recipes. Giving a part of yourself, dispersing a spirit or sorts from a family member, can be more a part of a recipe than the actual components. I do believe that when you make a recipe for friends or family you are including the spirit of the person who has passed that recipe on to you. that is why NO ONE can make it exaclty the way you do....tell me I am wrong and I will go silently away.......................

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over 3 years ago drbabs

Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Some recipes are just like that, aren't they? Food connects us to primal memories and happy times--that's why it's so compelling. Thank you for noticing. Being able to share our stories is what makes this such a great community.

Lorigoldsby

over 3 years ago lorigoldsby

i agree... love hearing about the family table stories! we make our cocktail sauce so hot that if it's not "all exits open/no waiting" when you bite into it, then its for wimps.

thanks for the chuckle, forgot about the newspapers on the table!

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over 3 years ago lapadia

Love spicy cocktail sauce, especially enjoyed reading your "blast from the past" story!

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over 3 years ago drbabs

Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Thanks!

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over 3 years ago healthierkitchen

sounds great- thanks for sharing a piece of your childhood!

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over 3 years ago drbabs

Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Some of us have blogs...some of us overshare on Food52!

Lobster_001

over 3 years ago nannydeb

This is great! Thanks for sharing the recipe and photos!

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over 3 years ago drbabs

Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Thanks for noticing!

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over 3 years ago dymnyno

I love your story...ours was similar; we always had dungeness crab. My mother always made herself a nice salad while we had a crab grab.

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over 3 years ago drbabs

Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Crab grab--I love that!

Summer_2010_1048

over 3 years ago Midge

Love the smoked paprika in here. What a great memory and wonderful photos!

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over 3 years ago drbabs

Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Thanks, Midge!

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over 3 years ago ellenl

Where is the 2nd photo you mention? How do I find it?

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over 3 years ago drbabs

Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Click on the 2 under the photo. :)

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over 3 years ago drbabs

Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.

I'm second from the left in the first picture and all the way on the right in the second.

Sausage2

over 3 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

Love it! The story, the photo, and the recipe!

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over 3 years ago drbabs

Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Thanks!

Me

over 3 years ago TheWimpyVegetarian

I am definitely going to have to make this! It sounds wonderful and I like smoked paprika on just about anything too! It's such a wonderful spice. And I really love the photos!!! Thanks for sharing!!!

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over 3 years ago drbabs

Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Thank you!

Kay_at_lake

over 3 years ago Kayb

That's almost a dead ringer for my homemade cocktail sauce -- I don't use the smoked paprika, and instead of red pepper flakes, I just hit it with more hot sauce if it needs it. Proportions may be a little different -- who measures? -- but essentially the same sauce. Isn't it wonderful?

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over 3 years ago drbabs

Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.

It is...I just love smoked paprika; I'd use it on ice cream.

Bike2

over 3 years ago Sagegreen

This sounds great! Btw I have used smoked paprika on ice cream!

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over 3 years ago drbabs

Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Why doesn't that surprise me?

Mrs._larkin_370

over 3 years ago mrslarkin

Mrs. Larkin is a trusted source on Baking.

i LOVE homemade cocktail sauce and this sure sounds fantastic! Your photos are great, too! What a fun bunch! Thanks for sharing!!

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over 3 years ago drbabs

Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Thanks...yes, as we like to say, we put the fun in dysfunctional.

Gator_cake

over 3 years ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

Love your photo, and story!

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over 3 years ago drbabs

Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Thanks!

Stringio

over 3 years ago testkitchenette

Fabulous photo and story! We always made our own cocktail sauce as well (still do!). My dad gets the final say in if it needs more horseradish...the spicier, the better!

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over 3 years ago drbabs

Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Oh, thanks! The second picture is of the 4 of us about 4 years ago. We still have a lot of fun together.

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over 3 years ago ellenl

What a great photo and such a warm memory. The recipe sounds so good--can't wait to make it for my son with the shrimp sitting in the freezer for later today. Thanks.

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over 3 years ago drbabs

Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Thanks, Ellen. I hope you enjoy it.