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Recipe for classic shrimp cocktail

Sally Pasley Vargas for The Boston Globe/Globe Freelance

Serves 4


½ cup ketchup or tomato-based chile sauce
1 tablespoon finely grated fresh horseradish root, or prepared horseradish, or more to taste
Juice of ½ lemon, or more to taste
Black pepper, to taste

1. In a bowl, combine the ketchup or chile sauce, horseradish, lemon juice, and pepper.

2. Taste for seasoning and add more horseradish or lemon, if you like. Refrigerate until using.


1 pound large (21 to 25 per pound) shrimp
3 cups water
1 cup white wine
½ onion, sliced
1 teaspoon salt
2 bay leaves
½ teaspoon peppercorns
2 sprigs parsley

1. Have on hand a large bowl filled with ice water.

2. In a wide saucepan over medium heat, bring the water and wine to a simmer. Add the onion, salt, bay leaves, peppercorns, and parsley. Simmer over low heat for 10 minutes. Taste the broth. It should taste like well-seasoned stock.

3. Add the shrimp and stir. Remove the pot from the heat. Cover it and leave for 2 minutes, or until the shrimp are opaque in the center. With a slotted spoon, quickly transfer the shrimp to the ice water bath. Swish them around for 1 minute. Drain and pat dry. Refrigerate until cold, or for up to 24 hours. (Strain the broth and use to make chowders or other fish-based soups.)


4. Fill 4 stemmed or other wide-topped glasses with shrimp. Transfer the sauce to small bowls, shot glasses, or hollowed-out lemon halves. Serve with the sauce.
Sally Pasley Vargas