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A Slightly Tipsy Shrimp Cocktail

A Slightly Tipsy Shrimp Cocktail

While some mix metaphors, Alisha Randell mixes cuisines. To her, there is something pleasurable in finding an unexpected flavor in a classical dish.
By Alisha Randell

Grilled Shrimp Cocktail

These days there are a multitude of cleaver concoctions based on this classic appetizer. The origins of this dish seem to be a little muddled, but according to this site I ran across while trying to gather more information it appears to date back to the early 20th century United States. Traditionally this appetizer consists of cooked peeled shrimp served with a spicy ketchup/catsup or tomato based sauce.

I have chosen a salsa based sauce for our cocktail of tomatillo and grape. For a bit of taste-bud tantalizing we through in some French brandy and Cambodian lemongrass curry spice. Cambodian cuisine has a mixed influence of French and Chinese with their curry dishes showing influences from India. So as you can see we are taking quite a cultural culinary tour with this dish…

Along with our shrimp cocktail I served a cheese filled tortilla roll. For my cheese selection I used Midnight Moon, a firm aged goats milk cheese. This is high on my list of favorite cheeses with a smooth mouth feel, hints of salted caramel and prominent nutty brown butter undertones.

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A Slightly Tipsy Shrimp Cocktail

  • Author: Alisha Randell
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x


Grilled shrimp with tomatillo and grape brandied salsa cocktail.


  • For the salsa:
  • 1 bunch fresh cilantro
  • 1 small bunch red seedless grapes, halved
  • 6 tomatillos, husked and chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 red chili peppers, chopped and seeded
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • 1 fresh lime, juiced (reserve about 1 tsp for shrimp)
  • 4 Tbs (59 ml) French brandy or cognac
  • 1 tsp (5 ml) olive oil
  • 1/2 Tbs (7.3 ml)Cambodian lemongrass curry seasoning
  • 1/2 Tbs (7.3 ml)cumin
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Food processor or blender
  • For the shrimp:
  • 12 raw colossal shrimp, peeled and veined tail on
  • 1 Tbs (15 ml)olive oil
  • Splash of French brandy
  • 1 tsp (15 ml)lime juice
  • 12 pinches cayenne pepper
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 shallot
  • 4 skewers
  • For the rolled tortillas:
  • 4 large tortillas
  • 2 Tbs (29.5 ml)butter
  • 1 cup (250 ml)midnight moon cheese, grated


  1. Begin preparing your salsa by roughly chopping all produce and placing in a large food processor. (If using dry chilies, reconstitute in warm water until soft)Reserving a few grapes halved to add to processed salsa, if desired.
  2. Slowly add liquids while the processor is on, adding more if needed. Add cumin and curry,continuing to blend until fully incorporated. Salt and pepper to taste. Set aside stirring occasionally.
  3. Heat grill to 375 degrees f ( 190 c).
  4. Place shrimp in a large bowl along with olive oil, brandy, lime juice, cayenne and salt. Toss until shrimp is coated.
  5. Alternating between shrimp and shallot, place on skewers.
  6. Place on grill about 4-5 min each side or until shrimps begin to char slightly and are pink.
  7. Now prepare your cheese tortilla rolls by buttering one side of each tortilla and place on a sheet of foil. Add 1/4 of cheese to each tortilla and roll.
  8. Place the foil with the tortilla roll onto grill until browned on each side and cheese has melted.


If you are unable to obtain the Cambodian lemongrass curry a small amount of dry lemon grass ground, ground ginger, lime zest and a mild chili powder will be close.

  • Prep Time: 30 mins
  • Cook Time: 20 mins



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