Shrimp cocktail is one of our favorite appetizers in the Florida Keys. Wild, fresh Key West Pink Shrimp could be one of nature's most delicious foods. According to the Key Largo Fisheries website, 85% of the pink shrimp sold in the USA are from South Florida. And they are fabulous!
How to Peel and Devein Shrimp
I buy local shrimp by the pound that have their shells intact. Try to keep the tails on for shrimp cocktail so you have a little "handle" to pick them up and tail on shrimp make a much better presentation.
Hold the tail with one hand and grab the legs and shell with the other hand and snap them back. Make sure you get all the shells off to avoid a choking hazard.
There is a dark vein running down the back of the shrimp. Score the flesh over the vein with a paring knife and remove it with the knife tip and then rinse the shrimp under cold running water.
How to Cook Shrimp for Shrimp Cocktail
Bring a large pot of water to a boil so the shrimp can move around while cooking. Drop in a few lemons, parsley, and onion, and a few smashed garlic cloves. Add the shrimp and cook for two-three minutes or until the shrimp is opaque. Remove from the water and place the shrimp in a bowl of ice water to stop them from cooking. Drain and chill at least an hour before serving.
How to Make Cocktail Sauce
You can purchase a bottle of cocktail sauce, but it is so easy to make your own with a few pantry staples. Combine ketchup, prepared horseradish, Worcestershire sauce, a little hot sauce, and some fresh lemon juice in a small bowl. Chill before serving.
If you're on a restrictive diet...
For the Kaufmann, Paleo, and Keto diets, omit the cocktail sauce and go with melted butter or ghee and lemon juice. The fresh shrimp are the star and they have no sugar and no carbs!
You Can Buy Florida Keys Shrimp Online!
Forget about the frozen supermarket shrimp from farms in Vietnam or China. Check out Key Largo Fisheries to have these beauties shipped right to your door.
About the Key Largo Fisheries
Key Largo Fisheries, at 1313 Ocean Bay Drive in Key Largo, is an informal waterfront seafood shack called the "Back Yard. " You can enjoy lunch or dinner while watching the fishing boats pull up to unload the catch of the day. Enjoy live music while dining on Florida Keys favorites such as Conch Chowder, Gator Nuggets, Crab Cakes, Fish Dip, and Key Lime Pie on the outdoor patio. It's a fun place!
Tucked inside Key Largo Fisheries is a fish market selling fish that came right off the fishing boats. Freshly caught Mahimahi, swordfish, lobsters, stone crabs, snapper, grouper, hogfish, and those delicious shrimp mentioned above are available at the market.
If you love fresh shrimp as much as I do, try this recipe for Key West Shrimp Salad. I made it with our beautiful local shrimp, a few spices, and fresh mayonnaise. You're going to love it!
Another great recipe for locally caught fish is Blackened Swordfish. You can purchase the fish at the Fisheries and make a homemade blackening seasoning. The whole dish will be ready in under 30 minutes!
Florida Keys Shrimp Cocktail
FOR THE COCKTAIL SAUCE
- ½ cup ketchup
- 2 tablespoon prepared horseradish (found in condiment aisle)
- 1 dash Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tablespoon lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon hot sauce (such as Cholulah)
FOR THE SHRIMP
- 2 pounds Key West shrimp thawed of frozen, peeled and deveined
- 2 lemons halved
- 3 whole garlic cloves peeled
- 1 handful parsley flat-leaf or curly
- 1 onion peeled and quartered
- lemon wedges for serving and garnish
- Mix together cocktail sauce ingredients and chill until ready to serve.
- Peel the shrimp: pull the legs and the shell off each shrimp, leaving the tail intact. Devein each shrimp with a paring knife.
- Bring a medium-sized pot of water to a boil. Add lemons, garlic, parsley, and onion; cook for two minutes. Lower heat to a simmer.
- Add the shrimp and cook three minutes or until shrimp are pink and firm to touch. Drain in a colander.
- Place shrimp in a bowl of ice water to cool for a few minutes. Drain; place shrimp in a covered bowl and refrigerate until ready to serve.
- Place chilled shrimp on platter beside a bowl of cocktail sauce and lemon wedges.