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11/23/2011

~ A Tale of Two Cocktail Sauces: Classic and Creamy ~

6a0120a8551282970b015437a1e06e970cThanksgiving is tomorrow, and Christmas is right around the corner.  No time like the present to present two, easy-to-make, seafood sauce recipes that represent festive occasions and fine-dining experiences for us all.  I've been eating classic shrimp cocktail since I was 5 or 6 years old and loved to watch my mom make it.  She would let me arrange the shrimp around and in each champagne glass, which, if you have children, is a tricky way to get kids  to try a new food.  It wasn't until years later, on a trip to London in December of 1983, that I was served a creamy version with a prawn salad in the famous Browns restaurant.  It was just before Christmas, the upscale eatery was gloriously decorated, and, the Mary Rose sauce was absolutely dreamy.   

PICT4477A bit about classic cocktail sauce: Shrimp cocktail, as we know it today, originated back in the early 20th century.  Oysters were the original "cocktail" shellfish, were usually served as appetizers in tiny cups, and were topped with a spicy ketchup sauce containing horseradish and Tabasco. "Cocktail" appetizers became extremely popular during the 1920's, or, the decade of Prohibition.  The appetizers were served in actual "cocktail" glasses (which were originally purchased to hold alcoholic beverages), because it was an attractive, innovative way to make use of the idle stemware!

PICT4576A bit about creamy cocktail sauce: Shrimp cocktail is not just an American staple.  The British refer to it as "prawn cocktail" and have been serving it as long as we have, but nowadays across the pond, you'll most likely find it served with a creamy sauce called Marie Rose sauce.  This creamy, pink-colored sauce is made using a combination of ingredients similar to that of classic cocktail sauce, minus the horseradish, with a bit of mayo whisked into it instead.  It was originally called Mary Rose sauce and was created in 1981 by a Chef in the Royal Navy catering to a commemorative dive on the ship wreck of the Mary Rose, in Portsmouth Harbor.  Without the proper condiments to accompany his prawns, he used what was on hand, mixing ketchup and mayonnaise with a bit of lemon juice and Worcestershire.  It was so popular, it is now the standard paring for prawns or seafood cocktails served in Britain.

In the 1990's, there was a trend in England to give foods more French sounding names, hence, the name Mary Rose was "trendified" or "Frenchified" to Marie Rose.  Because Marie Rose sauce is so subtle, smooth and refined, refrain from substituting Thousand Island or Russian salad dressing in its place.  Why?  While the dressings are indeed condiments whose base is made from ketchup and mayonnaise, their flavor, which is emboldened by the addition of onions and pickles, are a bit too harsh or overwhelming for this decadent, delicate "cocktail"/salad.

PICT4396For the classic cocktail sauce:

1  12-ounce bottle Heinz chili sauce (about 1 cup)

1/2  cup Heinz ketchup

1/2  cup prepared horseradish

1  tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1  tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1/2  teaspoon Tabasco sauce, more or less, to taste

1/8  teaspoon sea salt

PICT4404

 

~ Step 1.  In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together all of the classic cocktail sauce ingredients, as listed. Cover and refrigerate several hours or overnight, to allow all of the spicy flavors to marry.  Serve chilled.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PICT4512For the creamy cocktail sauce

1  12-ounce bottle Heinz chili sauce (about 1 cup)

1/2  cup Heinz ketchup

1/4  cup mayonnaise

1/4  cup creme fraiche

1  tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1  tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1/2  teaspoon Tabasco sauce, more or less, to taste

1/8  teaspoon sea salt

PICT4516~ Step 1.  In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together all of the creamy cocktail sauce ingredients, as listed. Cover and refrigerate several hours, or overnight, to allow all of the spicy flavors to marry with the cream. Serve chilled.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Can't decide which one to make?  Make them both!

PICT4599A Tale of Two Cocktail Sauces:  Classic and Creamy:  Recipe yields 2 cups each.

Special Equipment List:  whisk; 2, 2 cup food storage containers w/lids

Cook's Note:  Both recipes can be made up to a week in advance and stored in the refrigerator.

"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2011)

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