9-Minute Shrimp Cocktail: A Light and Refreshing Almost-No-Cook Summer Dinner

Sometimes I swan myself over to a very sophisticated bar, order a very dry and icy martini and a very sweet and tender shrimp cocktail, and contentedly ponder whether I should paint my nails shell pink or race car-red. And then a voice from the depths of the other room bellows "Mom! He took my light saber!" And I wake up and think: I'll make shrimp cocktail for dinner…I love shrimp cocktail, especially the way the tails of the shellfish "tip-tilt over the glass like pink commas," as the great food writer Clementine Paddleford once put it. So I figured out how I could make it as quickly as possible without sacrificing any of the things I love about it. Except the sophisticated bar.

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Note: It takes nine minutes to put this together. You can do it easily with shrimp you may already have in the freezer, and you can make it ahead and chill both the shrimp and the cocktail sauce until you're ready to eat them. Or, you can put the dish together exactly nine minutes before you're ready to eat it and the shrimp and the sauce will both be at room temperature (and they're delicious that way, too). The sauce is piquant and spicy, and if you have any leftover it makes a great marinade for steak or chicken.

Here's how:

Shrimp Cocktail

Makes four appetizer or two generous entree servings

1 pound large shrimp, peels on
1 tablespoon salt
1/2 cup tomato product of your choice (ketchup, tomato paste, chopped fresh tomatoes, whatever your preference)
1 teaspoon chili powder
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon or lime juice (or combination)
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon horseradish

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1. Put shrimp in large pot of salted water, just enough to cover. Bring to a boil over high heat; when it comes to a boil, reduce heat and simmer just until the shrimp turn pink, 3 to 5 minutes ( a little longer if you use frozen). Pour shrimp into colander and rinse in cold water. Peel and devein the shrimp.

2. In a medium bowl, combine all the other ingredients and adjust seasoning.

If you have time, chill both shrimp and sauce. If you don't, you don't.


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