On The Side: Cocktail and Remoulade Sauces

Cocktail and remoulade sauces are not simply for the summertime seafood boil. Shrimp is a year-round food. Christmastime? There will be shrimp cocktail. Thanksgiving? Yeah, there too. A random summertime Saturday night? Nothing wrong with that.

The catalyst for these sauces, cocktail in particular, is the level of heat you desire and how you want to get that heat. The lion’s share of sauces and foods are spiced using peppers, but cocktail sauce derives much of its burn from horseradish. Prepared horseradish has all of the subtlety of a Vicks VapoRub, but it is a necessary (and complementary) addition to some foods. A roast beef sandwich on a kimmelweck roll and cocktail sauce come to mind immediately. I will usually use 1 to 2 tsp. If I use less, I will supplement the heat with sriracha or Frank’s Red Hot. The goal here, though, is to keep it from being too runny. It should stick to the shrimp when dunked, but not be too thick that the shrimp curls when dipping.

Remoulade sauce is the cooler, mayonnaise-based French sauce perfected in Louisiana. Good remoulade will have onions and just a little heat to balance the red sauce.

So, stop buying bottled sauces and make your own. You’re better than the stuff on the shelf. 

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Cocktail Sauce
By Jared Paventi

  • 2 cups ketchup (Don’t skimp on brand choices. Cheap-tasting ketchup makes cheap-tasting cocktail sauce)
  • 4 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tsp. (heaping) prepared horseradish
  • 3 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp. stone-ground mustard
  • two-fingered pinch of kosher salt
  • 1 tsp. celery seed
  • 1 to 2 tsp. sriracha sauce, if desired

Add all ingredients in a non-metallic mixing bowl. Whisk together to blend. Taste and adjust heat or add additional salt, if desired. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour before serving.

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Remoulade Sauce
By Jared Paventi

  • 1 1/2 cups mayonnaise
  • 2 tbsp. stone-ground mustard
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 bunch scallions, green parts and stems removed, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tbsp. ketchup
  • 1 tsp. sriracha sauce
  • two-fingered pinch of kosher salt
  • two twists of a black pepper mill

Add all ingredients in a non-metallic mixing bowl. Whisk together to blend. Taste and adjust heat or add additional salt, if desired. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour before serving.

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