Speedy Cocktail Sauce

By Ann Fulton

Bright, zippy, and super easy to make whenever needed, this fresh-tasting cocktail sauce adds memorable flavor to shrimp, crab cakes, hot dogs, and so much more. 
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Bright, zippy, and super easy to make whenever needed, this fresh-tasting cocktail sauce adds memorable flavor to shrimp, crab cakes, hot dogs, and so much more. 

 

A condiment has the power to complete a meal. A really good condiment, however, will simultaneously elevate that meal. 

Such is the case with cocktail sauce. Cocktail sauce is to shrimp what ketchup is to french fries, only with more zip.

Horseradish is the secret ingredient that makes cocktail sauce shine. Judicious use of a few other pantry staples is all that’s needed to round out the flavor and create a speedy sauce that truly shines.

Shrimp and cocktail sauce are traditional pairing, but you can pair this zippy sauce with crab cakes and other shellfish and white fish, burgers, hot dogs, and eggs — or use it as a dip for Baked Mozzarella Sticks…and stir a spoonful into a bloody Mary! 

What is horseradish? 

Horseradish is the root of the horseradish plant, which is in the same family as mustard and wasabi. It’s also a cousin of cauliflower, broccoli, and Brussel sprouts.

What does horseradish taste like?

Horseradish has a pungent flavor that’s often described as hot, peppery, and spicy. Interestingly, the spicy element doesn’t burn the tongue like hot peppers but is experienced through the nose and sinuses.

As long as a moderate amount is used, however, the experience should be peppery flavor and a controlled sense of spiciness. In other words, it shouldn’t clear out your sinuses unless you want it to!

What’s the difference between prepared horseradish and cream style horseradish?

  • Prepared horseradish is the grated root mixed with vinegar, which stabilizes the heat–and it’s what we use for cocktail sauce.
  • Cream style horseradish is a sauce that consists of prepared horseradish mixed with sour cream, mayonnaise, or heavy cream and is often used as a sauce for roast beef and lamb. 
Beer Boiled Peel & Eat Shrimp bring the fun factor to dinner, and if you keep a bag of shrimp in your freezer, you can have this festive meal anytime--in about five minutes! This Speedy Cocktail Sauce is the perfect pairing.

This speedy cocktail sauce is perfect for dunking Beer Boiled Peel & Eat Shrimp

Maryland Crab Cakes - No fryer needed for crisp edges and classic crab cake flavor. Packed with tender chunks of meat, this meal is elegant enough for special occasions yet easy enough for a busy weeknight.

…or dolloping over classic Maryland Crab Cakes.

Speedy Cocktail Sauce
Prep Time: 3 minutes
Total Time: 3 minutes
Yield: ½ cup+
Shrimp and cocktail sauce are a given, but you can pair this zippy sauce with crab cakes and other shellfish and white fish, burgers, hot dogs, and eggs. Or use it as a dip for mozzarella sticks – or stir a spoonful into a bloody Mary!
Ingredients
  • ½ cup (136g) ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons (30g) horseradish, or more to taste*
  • 1 teaspoon (5ml) freshly squeezed lemon juice (sauce will still taste good if you don’t have a lemon)
  • Dash of Worcestershire sauce (about ¼ teaspoon)
  • Squirt of Tabasco or pinch cayenne pepper, optional
Instructions

In a small bowl, stir together the ketchup, horseradish, lemon juice, Worcestershire, and optional hot sauce. Start with 1½ tablespoons of the horseradish and add more to taste. Chill until ready to use. The flavor will improve over time, and the sauce will keep in the refrigerator for several weeks.

Notes

The “perfect” amount of horseradish will vary from person to person. I find 2 tablespoons to be an excellent middle ground when serving a group. When making for my family, I add an extra spoonful because everyone enjoys a more pronounced flavor.

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