Jasper White's Fabulous Retro Shrimp Cocktail

Cocktail sauce is the darling sauce of the raw bar. People love the combination of the sweet tomato mixed with the spicy horseradish. I use Heinz Chile Sauce, never ketchup, so the sauce isn’t too sweet. Lemon juice and Worcestershire Sauce add a tartness that gives this some zing. I try to serve cocktail sauce on the side so people can take as little or as much as they like. A small drop, 1/8th to ½ of a teaspoon, on a raw clam is quite nice, but more than that overpowers. I use even less on oysters. It’s not that I don’t like this stuff; I often put a little on a cracker and eat it alone. It is best suited for a dish that bears the name: Shrimp Cocktail.

Makes 3 cups – Keeps in the refrigerator 3 weeks.


  • 1 stalk celery (ounces), thinly sliced
  • 1 lemon, thinly sliced
  • 1 small onion (toounces), thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
  • 4 small orlarge dried bay leaves
  • 3 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons or more Tabasco Sauce
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 pound raw shrimp, 26/30s or 16/20s, shell on
  • 4 lemon wedges
  • 4 sprigs of parsley
  • 1/4 cup Cocktail Sauce
  • Cocktail Sauce ingredients
  • 1 24-ounce bottle Heinz Chili Sauce
  • 2 tablespoons prepared horseradish
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
  • Ingredients


  1. You can prepare the shrimp early the same day and keep chilled in the poaching liquid until a few minutes before you serve them.
  2. Combine the celery, lemon slices, onion, peppercorns, bay leaves, salt, Tabasco, thyme and 1 quart of water in a large saucepan.  Bring to a boil over high heat, lower the heat, cover and simmer for 10 minutes.
  3. Add the shrimp and poach for 3 to 3 1/2 minutes, stirring each minute, until the shrimp begin to curl into a U shape.  Don’t wait until they curl around completely. 
  4. Using a Chinese wire mesh skimmer, transfer the shrimp after a quick draining to a shallow pan.  Let them cool down for about 10 minutes.  Strain the liquid through a fine strainer and allow it to cool down as well.  If you are in a hurry, place the liquid in a stainless bowl on ice.
  5. While still warm, peel the shrimp, leaving the shell on the last section of tail intact.  Make a small 1/8th-inch deep incision from the top of the shrimp to the tail, and pull out the intestinal track; it should pull out in one strip.  As soon as the poaching liquid is lukewarm or room temperature, pour it over the shrimp, cover the pan with plastic wrap and chill the shrimp in the liquid.
  6. Find four beautiful martini glasses or another glass container and put a few shells or sea glass from the beach in the bottom of the glass.  Chill the glasses well. 
  7. When ready to serve, fill them about 1/2 way to the top with crushed ice. 
  8. Drain the shrimp well and arrange 4 or 5 around the glass, using the ice to stabilize the shrimp. 
  9. Put a lemon wedge and sprig of fresh parsley, watercress, or other herb in the center.  Serve the cocktail sauce in a small chilled bowl with a small serving spoon. 
  10. The idea is to put a small dollop on each shrimp, dunking them in the sauce is common, but it is not a good thing to do because it coats them with too much sauce.
  11. Cocktail Sauce directions
  12. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and whisk very well so the flavor of the horseradish penetrates the chili sauce.  Put in container, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to use
  13. Jasper White presented this recipe on show 1807, Glorious Shrimp – Gamberi Gloriosi.

This recipe was featured on Season 18 - Episode 1807.

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