Shrimp Mocktail


There is one ingredient that you will very rarely find on this blog and that’s shellfish.  See, when I reached college age I discovered that I had developed a shellfish allergy.  It took me a while to figure it out what was causing the rather painful attacks as I had been eating shrimp, crab and clams since I was a little girl and never had a problem.  Some of my favorite memories are of clamming with my family at Dillon Beach.  Running around the sand bar, stomping next to little holes in the sand hoping for a thin fountain of water to shoot up and then watching my dad do all of the digging.  Magic.  The homemade clam chowder after, delicious.

After one awful visit to Bubba Gumps and one experimental nibble on a shrimp soon after, there wasn’t any doubt I was allergic.  It’s to the point that I can’t eat anything with even a hint of oyster sauce and long periods in the ocean will give me a nice set of hives.  


This sucks on a number of levels, not the least was giving up a few things I love like crab and cream cheese wontons and shrimp cocktail.  I rejoice whenever I find a Chinese restaurant that cheaps out and uses the fake crab meat in the wontons.  My stomach has proven that there is apparently not an ounce of real crab in the fake stuff.  

I was reading my Bon Appetite the other day and came across this recipe for a “Poor Man’s Shrimp Cocktail”.  Intrigued, I tried it out for Sunday Night Dinner with my friends and family and the general consensus was that it tastes pretty darn close.  Obviously you have to trick your mind a little (or cut up the cauliflower into shrimp shapes) but dipped in the cocktail sauce it is quite delicious.  It uses a crab boil seasoning (I found this at my local supermarket in the seafood section) as a large part of the flavoring.  The recipe is vegetarian/vegan which was a bonus when my vegetarian brother is over.


Shrimp Mocktail

1 cup dry crab boil seasoning (such as Zatarain’s or Old Bay)
1/4 cup kosher salt
2 yellow onions, quartered
6 garlic cloves
3 lemons, halved crosswise
2 1-pound heads of cauliflower, cored, trimmed into 2″ florets

1.  Combine crab boil, salt, onions, garlic, and 6 quarts water in a large pot. Squeeze juice from lemons into pot and add lemon halves. 
2.  Set pot over high heat and bring liquid to a boil. Cook for 10 minute. Using a slotted spoon, remove onions, garlic, and lemons from broth; discard.
3.  Return liquid to a rolling boil.  Add cauliflower; turn off heat, cover pot tightly, and let stand until cauliflower is crisp-tender, 5–10 minutes.
4.  Drain; spread out cauliflower on a rimmed baking sheet and let cool completely.
Cooking Notes: Cauliflower can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Serve with cocktail sauce for dipping.

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