There are certain foods my family refers to a “fun foods”. Some of these include crabs, artichokes and anything for which we can use chopsticks. Basically, any dish that requires a little extra effort to eat — and, therefore, means we slow down and really enjoy our time around the dinner table — qualifies. Peel-and-eat shrimp fall into the fun food category, too.
What’s more, shrimp are so quick cooking, they make a perfect dinner on a busy night. Roasting rather than steaming adds extra flavor and is so incredibly easy. I often think of shrimp as something to save for a special hors d’oeuvre. But if I see it on sale, I grab it. A frozen 2-pound bag is great to have stashed in your freezer. To expedite thawing, simply dump into a colander and run water over top. A baked potato and a simple green veggie, or your favorite salad, make for a complete meal.
If you aren’t in the mood for the “fun” of peeling, you may roast already peeled shrimp, too!
- 2 pounds shrimp, shells on (12-15 count per pound)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon Old Bay or seasoning mix of choice (if you are roasting already peeled shrimp, decrease to 1/2 tablespoon)
- Optional: 1 lemon, cut in half
- 1/2 cup chili sauce (recipe for homemade option follows)
- 1/2 cup ketchup
- 3 tablespoons prepared horseradish
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice, freshly squeezed
- 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1/4 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Place the shrimp on a lightly greased baking sheet and toss with the 1 tablespoon olive oil. Sprinkle evenly with the seasoning and arrange the shrimp in one layer. Place the lemon halves on the baking sheet as well.
Combine the sauce ingredients and set aside. You may prepare the sauce in advance and refrigerate until ready to serve.
Bake the shrimp for 8-10 minutes or until just pink and opaque throughout. Remove from oven. When cool enough to handle, you may squeeze the lemon halves over the shrimp, if desired.
Serve hot or at room temperature using the cocktail sauce as a dip.
- The cocktail sauce is a recipe from Ina Garten, although you may substitute the chili sauce in her recipe with my homemade version. (Recipe is immediately following.) When I am in a hurry–and this is truly a great in-a-hurry meal!–I add prepared horseradish, to taste, to ketchup, followed by a dash or two or Worcestershire. This easy combination makes a terrific cocktail sauce in a flash.
- When making the above cocktail sauce recipe, I use a teaspoon of juice from each lemon half and then place the lemon halves on the tray and bake along with the shrimp. Once the shrimp is cooked and the lemon halves are cool enough to handle, I squeeze a little juice over the shrimp.
- 1 8-ounce can tomato sauce
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 tablespoons vinegar (I used white vinegar; cider vinegar would be good, too)
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon chili powder (I used ancho chili powder; regular would be fine)
- 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
- Tabasco to taste (I used 5-6 dashes)
- Dash each of cloves and allspice (my “dash” equals about half of my 1/8 measuring spoon)
Mix all ingredients together in a medium bowl until full blended.
Transfer to a jar and store in the refrigerator. Flavors will develop as the chili sauce sits so make a few hours or a day in advance, if possible.