Last night we had a craving for shrimp cocktail. Could there be a better marriage of flavor and texture? Cold firm shrimp and spicy red sauce.

We ran out to the store to pick up some cooked shrimp in order to make a simple quick shrimp cocktail. Unfortunately, the only shrimp cooked and ready to dip was farmed raised in Mexico. We were jones’ing for our sauce, but found ourselves in a pickle.

For the new Mama B book, we’d just finished research on farm raised fish and we weren’t biting.  We’re not disparaging all farm raised fish, (it’s probably the future of sustainable fishing and there are some great purveyors), it’s just that we’re now more mindful of the provenance of our seafood choices*.

Our only choice: fresh from the Gulf jumbo shrimp. Not really a hardship, except way more work than we bargained for, but our craving was fierce.

Lucky for us those big babies were on sale, so we bought a pound.

The Shrimp

Peel and devein the shrimp and set them aside.  Throw the shells in a pot and add  2 1/2 cups of water and one tablespoon of kosher salt and boil it down for 15 minutes. Pour the stock through a sieve, pressing on the shells to extract all the flavor. To this stock add 1 cup of dry white wine, 1 sprig of mint, 1 sprig of cilantro, 1 sprig of parsley, 6 coriander seeds, 1 California bay leaf, three cloves, six peppercorns, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, 1 tablespoon of salt and set it back to boil for two more minutes.

Turn off the heat, add the shrimp and put the cover back on the pot for 6 or 7 minutes, just until the shrimp turned pink.  Throw them into an ice bath to stop the cooking and hasten the cooling. Drain and refrigerate.

Our Spicy Sauce

Into a small bowl put 1 cup of ketchup, 1-2 teaspoons of horseradish, a generous squirt or two of sriracha, 1 tblsp lemon juice, salt and pepper.

*Check out this site: Monterey Aquarium Seafood Watch and download their rocking iPhone/iPad app for more straight dope on the fish you eat.