New Years Eve. Our 12th annual seafood fest. The first year I met Connie we had the New Year's Eve DISCUSSION. Do you like to go out on NYE? No, do you? No. WHEW! Yet another way we're compatible. So, my next question was he wanted for dinner. I'm asking this of a boy from Boston, you know. And, did I really expect the response to be anything but seafood? Nope. And, it wasn't. So I went to the local fish market and bought two of everything. We ate leftover seafood for DAYS. Over the years I've become much more judicious about my NYE menu. Now, I try to limit it to four courses. LOL. If you want to call that judicious.
This year our menu was to be scallops on a salsa of avocado and mango, lobster bisque, lobster mac and cheese and oyster fritters. Then I got my assignment for Blogger C.L.U.E. Society. One of my favorite bloggers - Christy from Confessions of a Culinary Diva. Now, Christy and I have never met. We tried when I was in her neck of the woods a year ago. But, fate intervened. She had jury duty. Major bummer. You see, not only is she an amazing cook, she's also a cookbook collector like I am. Someday I will meet her and we'll undoubtedly talk non-stop. Our topic this month is to be healthy eating. January and all. Everyone wants to get over the excess of the holidays. As I was poking around on Christy's site looking at all the great cocktail recipes and remembering when we'd made several of them, I spied a recipe for a shrimp cocktail. From an Irish pub cookbook that I also own. And, it sounded pretty healthy. Sold. Our menu expanded to five courses. And, am I ever glad I did.
Being from Indianapolis, we have the venerable St. Elmo's Steak House. It's typically listed as one of the top ten in the U.S. And, for good reason. We've been to steakhouses all over the U.S. and have never had one that's as good as St. Elmo's. But, it's their shrimp cocktail that really gets the press. It's hotter than blazes. Made with fresh horseradish that'll make your eyes sweat. Connie and I both slurp up the sauce while the sweat is dripping down our foreheads. Oh, so good. Needless to say, shrimp cocktail is not something we take lightly around our house. Not when St. Elmo's is a short drive away.
This one, though, sounded so different. Irish Seafood Cocktail. Light and flavorful. Butter lettuce, cucumber, shrimp, a light cocktail sauce. I had to try it. And, was I ever glad I did. It was all I could do to make the cocktail sauce as written (such are the rules with Blogger CLUE) and not put any horseradish in. I'm glad I didn't. It was perfect as it was. This is such a great starter. In fact, we're having some friends over for munchies and a port tasting in a few weeks. I do believe this will be on the menu.
Before we get to the recipe, please let me tell you a bit about Christy. She's a banker. Yes, like I used to be. She lives in Palm Springs. Yes, I'm jealous. She has a wonderful sous chef like I do. She makes fabulous cocktails. Experience speaking here, she REALLY makes fabulous cocktails. She collects cookbooks. But, you knew that. She's absolutely totally delightful! Please visit her blog and tell her I said HI!!! Confessions of a Culinary DIva.
And, one last thing before we get to the recipe. There are a bunch of great recipes from my other Blogger CLUE friends. Links are below.
Now, on to the recipe...
Irish Seafood Cocktail
shredded romaine lettuce or baby lettuce
1/2 cucumber, peeled and seeded, cut into small batons - about 1/2" long
1 c crabmeat
18 jumbo cooked shrimp
2/3 c mayonnaise
2 T ketchup
1/2 t Cognac
1/4 t Tabasco
sea salt flakes
In individual bowls, layer the lettuce, then the cucumber, then the crabmeat, then the shrimp. Mix the mayo, ketchup, Cognac and Tabasco. Dollop it on top. Garnish with lemon slices (I didn't have any...) and sea salt. Serve ice cold.
adapted from Confessions of a Culinary Diva. Originally from The Complete Irish Pub Cookbook