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.)
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)
In This Recipe
Stir everything together. Taste it—it’s good! And adjust seasoning to your taste.