Sunday, August 29, 2010

Cocktail Sauce

Party idea… shrimp cocktail on a stick.
Years ago when we were in New Orleans my husband and I tracked down an oyster restaurant that was known for their fresh oysters. Even though I can’t seem to remember their name I will never forget the experience.  That’s where we got schooled on cocktail sauce.

When we arrived I quickly pulled out the printed review and rechecked the address making sure we were at the right place.  And we were with Kono and I looking completely out of place standing in front of an old building in a questionable neighborhood.

The exterior of the restaurant blended into the building.  The only clue that there might be a restaurant was a basic white door with blue trim, a logo and a few numbers to identify its location.  Kono and I looked at each other, then at the building and said; “Why not, we came all this way let’s check it out”.

We opened the door and discovered a narrow hole in the wall coffee shop style restaurant with vinyl flowered tablecloths and about 8 small tables that lined the walls.  There was no one to greet us for a couple of awkward minutes and when someone showed up they were more cordial than friendly. 

We told the waitress that we read great reviews about their oysters and came to give them a try.  She forced a smiled, then brought us a dozen shucked oysters piled on a dinner plate and left.  Kono and I looked at each other again and asked who’s going to ask for the cocktail sauce.  Kono got the job. 

After a couple more awkward minutes of waiting for the waitress to resurface he politely asked her for some cocktail sauce.  The response was unexpected.  First she looked at Kono with an, “Are you stupid stare”, then pointed to all the condiments sitting off to the side like you would find the salt and pepper along with the napkin holder.  And sure enough, there was chili sauce, ketchup, horseradish, hot sauce, Worcestershire and lemon wedges on the plate of oysters.  Everything we needed to make cocktail sauce.  Duh?

It’s a good thing that we knew the ingredient for cocktail sauce or we would have been even more lost than we already were.  The oysters were incredibly fresh and with our special blend of cocktail sauce to top the oysters, I may have to say that they were some of the best that I have had.

The recipe below makes about 3 cups and can easily be cut in half.  If you want to make a small batch New Orleans style just remember that you need equal parts of chili sauce to ketchup and the rest of the ingredients are just a matter of personal taste.

1 1/4        cups       Heinz chili sauce (12 oz. bottle)
1 1/4        cups       ketchup
3              Tbsp.     horseradish
1 ½          tsp.        Worcestershire
½             tsp.        Tabasco hot sauce
2              Tbsp.     lemon juice

Mix all ingredients together.

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