Thursday, December 15, 2011

Ina Garten's Roasted Shrimp Cocktail with Spicy Cocktail Sauce

Flowers from the fabulous
Bridgehampton Florist..where else?

These shrimp are the center of attention on our Holiday Open House Buffett.

Ina Garten is a goddess around here. She lives in the next town over and has for years and years. Before becoming the TV star and author, she had a local food shop and catering service which endeared her to hundreds of customers. Now, with seven indispensable cookbooks in print, she’s endeared herself to millions. Much to her chagrin, because she likes to be able to walk around town and in and out of shops without causing a riot, there’s a cottage industry that’s sprung up involving Fans who come to the East End on self-guided “Ina tours” many of which wind up in our dear friends Michael and Jimmy’s shop, the Bridgehampton Florist. As frequent guests on Ina’s TV show, Michael and Jim are celebrities to these visitors. Personally, I get it. Ina is a sensational teacher and advocate of simple, wonderful food. And from her cookbook “Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics” comes her recipe for Roasted Shrimp Cocktail. To me, that alone should put her on a pedestal.

       If you’re ever roasted asparagus and recognized the flavor difference between that and its boiled version, you have some sense of why Ina’s is the only way to go when you make Shrimp Cocktail. Instead of boiling all the taste out of the shrimp, this incredibly easy method imparts a deeper richer taste. And in the 8 to 10 minutes your shrimp are roasting, you can whip up the Spicy Cocktail Sauce to go along with them.

Recipe for Ina Garten’s Roasted Shrimp Cocktail

2 pounds (12 to 15-count) shrimp
1 tablespoon good olive oil*
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

* I had some lemon infused olive oil which I used this time to great effect. It gave the shrimp another little flavor kick. But regular Extra Virgin Olive Oil does just fine.

Recipe for the Spicy Cocktail sauce:
1/2 cup chili sauce (recommended: Heinz)
1/2 cup ketchup
3 tablespoons prepared horseradish
2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon hot sauce (recommended: Tabasco)*

*We like our sauce really hot so we added Srircha (Tuong Ot Sriracha) as well as Chili Garlic Sauce (Tuong Ot Toi Viet Nam)and the crowd loved it. (We made a milder dip for our younger guests involving mayonnaise, sweet relish and ketchup – but everyone preferred the really spicy version).

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
2. Peel and devein the shrimp, leaving the tails on. Place them on a sheet pan with the olive oil, salt, and pepper and spread them in 1 layer. Roast for 8 to10 minutes, just until pink and firm and cooked through. Set aside to cool.

3. For the sauce, combine the chili sauce, ketchup, horseradish, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, and hot sauce. Serve as a dip with the shrimp.


  1. Great minds think alike !

    Ina's brilliant shrimp and dip idea was once demonstrated to us in almost the same form by Anton Edelman, Chef at the Savoy. Martha and I had been invited for lunch in his executive chef's office, a superiorlair raised above the sweatshop floor where his minions toiled. It was enclosed in safety glass, which elicited the now famous query from Her Ladyship (who knows more about Austrian Cookies than about Health and Safety regulations): Is that to protect you from Commis Chefs throwing heavy cooking pots at you?

    But, back to the case in point. Anton had also "roasted" his shrimps, and served them with a tomato-based dipping sauce, enhanced by spicy ingredients like chili-sauce and Worcestershire sauce.

    We have since tried the same recipe as a starter. Generously line a scallop shell or eared egg dish with some interesting cooked rice - basmati, or a wild rice mixture - still warm. Gently roll the shrimps in the pre-warmed spicy sauce and dollop into the centre of the rice. An excellent dinner party starter, as it can be served with minimal attention in the few minutes it takes for the shrimps to roast and the sauce to warm.

    Better still, it is a one-handed sort of cooking style, so there's plenty of opportunity for the chef to have a well deserved pre-prandial. You may quote me.

    Sir John (known to his friends as Simon) Stracey

  2. Thank you Sir John! What great suggestions!