I left the grocery store with fresh shrimp and all the fixings for a spicy cocktail sauce. You would think by the way I hurriedly drove home, I had some place to be, people to entertain, a holiday to celebrate. I didn’t. I walked into our house, our world just as I’d left it: controlled chaos; the kids just as snotty and feverish as they were when I stepped out, and Bubba, on a work call, our baby sitting on his lap eating his hands.
“What did you get Mama? Popsicles for my throat?” C asked.
Oh f%$#! I forgot the damme popsicles. She won’t let me forget this misstep. She loves to remind me, repeatedly, when I mess up. I hope she puts this persistence to a better use someday.
“Oh shoot, Goose, I forgot popsicles! How about ice cream? We have that!” She looks me over and patiently takes her time deciding if this is ok.
“I love ice cream Mama!” G. Thanks for helping me out buddy.
She smiles. “Ok.” I give them each a bowl of ice cream to soothe their sore throats and turn on a show. The stop watch starts.
Ted Allen from Chopped is standing near me. “Chefs, please open your baskets. Inside you will find shrimp, Sriracha sauce and limes. You have 30 minutes.” I know what to make. I feel sweaty and excited.
Then their scratchy voices catapults me back to the present.
“Mama, I need some water!” C. “Me too!” G.
I get them settled and return to the cold, wet, silvery blue and pale, orange shrimp sitting on the counter waiting for me. I grab a sharp knife and make a long slit down its slippery back. The knife slices thorough without much effort. I peel away the paper-thin shell and remove the vein. A few minutes later, all that remains are the tails, a pile of shells and a heap of shrimp ready for the oven.
I pre-heat my oven to 400 degrees and toss the shrimp with a bit of olive oil, sea salt and pepper and lay them in a single layer on a baking sheet. The smell of the shrimp, the subtle smell of the sea is intoxicating and comforting all at the same time.
I am small and standing in my grandmother’s kitchen. Jerry is at the stove, the rest of the family chatting in the living room. On the kitchen table shrimp and lemon wedges sit on ice with a spicy cocktail sauce nearby for dipping. I reach for a piece of shrimp, dip it into the sauce, take a bite and reach for another. I hear my parents and Papa laugh. Jerry smiles. We have shrimp and everyone is somewhat happy; it is a holiday.
“What are you making? Mmm. I have another call. Can you take him?” Bubba. N smiles and coos at me.
“Hold on.” I place the shrimp in the oven and set the timer for 8 minutes. I place N in his high chair and hand him a banana flavored Mum Mum Rice Biscuit. I hear the shrimp crackle. I quickly make Ina’s cocktail sauce, replacing the hot sauce with Sriracha and adding lime zest. Why lime? I read about cocktail sauce additions in the latest Bon Appetit. They suggested lime and fresh horseradish. I went with lime and prepared horseradish.
“Chefs you have 5 minutes remaining. Who will remain and who will get chopped…”
BEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEPPPPPPP! The oven screams at me. I pull the shrimp from the oven and my mouth starts to water. It looks perfectly pink, so I am guessing it is cooked through. I pick one-off of the hot pan, dip it into the fresh cocktail sauce and take a bite. Perfect. The cocktail sauce is spicy, but not overly so, and the lime zest adds a nice brightness. The roasted shrimp is warm and peppery.
I touch the white orchid that rests in my hair just above my tight bun. It is still there. We sit down, my white dress flowing around my chair. A martini glass with two shrimp, a wedge of lemon and a bit of cocktail sauce stands in front of me. I take a bite. Cold and fresh, it is so dam good. I eye Bubba’s shrimp, hoping he won’t eat it. This is the first time we break bread as husband and wife…
“Mama, the show is over!” G.
“Hold on!” Me.
I place a few shrimp and a heaping spoonful of cocktail sauce on a plate and walk upstairs to the office. I open the door and see Bubba still on a work call. He mutes the phone and takes a bite of the shrimp “Good.” He says, his thumb up.
“Blog worthy?” Me.
“Oh ya.” Bubba.
I smile, head downstairs and get back to my babies.
Roasted Shrimp Cocktail with Sriracha Lime Dipping Sauce
recipe adapted from Ina Garten
Ingredients for Shrimp:
2 pounds of shrimp (For the purposes of sharing this recipe and not stuffing myself with shrimp, I only purchased 1/2 pound.)
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Ingredients for Sauce:
1/2 cup chili sauce ( I used Heinz, but I hear Trader Joe’s has a good chili sauce.)
1/2 cup ketchup (I used Heinz.)
3 tablespoons of prepared horseradish
2 teaspoons of lemon juice
zest of 1 lime
1/2 teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon Sriracha sauce
Pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees.
Peel and devein your shrimp, but leave the tails on. Place the shrimp on a sheet pan and toss with olive oil, salt and pepper. Spread them in one layer and roast for 8 minutes or until just pink and firm. Set aside and allow to cool.
In a small bowl, mix together the chili sauce, ketchup, horseradish, lemon juice, Worcestershire, Sriracha sauce and lime zest. Arrange the shrimp on a serving dish and pour the dipping sauce into a cute bowl. Slice up a few lime and lemon wedges, if you have them, and serve with the shrimp and sauce. Enjoy!
5 Easy Appetizers for Thanksgiving!
Need an appetizer that will make both kids and adults happy? Head to Whole Foods Market for their pigs in a blanket recipe with cranberry mustard dipping sauce.
I love baked brie. Gimme Some Oven’s recipe for cranberry pistachio baked brie looks and tastes like the holidays. Check it out!
Not hosting this year? Plan ahead, make parmesan rosemary crackers and bring a bottle of wine. Your host will love you!
Stress-free and elegant appetizer? Really? Yes, it exists! Head to Williams Sonoma for their caramelized onion and apple tarts with Gruyere and thyme recipe. The flavors sound amazing together!
Going with a cheese plate? Let Design Mom help you build a beautiful cheese board.