Citrus Shrimp Cocktail

Chow on 01.21.10
Contributor bio | twitter

My kids will eat shrimp cocktail like there's no tomorrow. In fact, if we go to an all-you-can-eat buffet, they'll wipe you clean and more than likely, we'd get those nasty glares from the staff for eating more than our family's share. However, that's the kids, not me. I'm not a fan of rubbery, tasteless shrimp dipped in a cocktail sauce that you'd find in most restaurants - with the exception of this shrimp cocktail recipe from Grove Park Inn, Asheville NC!

So despite the name of this "Citrus Shrimp Cocktail" recipe, it's so very different. The shrimp are split and grilled, not boiled to death and then tossed in a mixture of fresh mint, grapefruit and orange segments.

So where's the "cocktail" part?

Ah-ha. Glad you asked!

Add in a little mixture of your choice of sparkling wine, champagne or prosecco plus the juice from the citrus adds a tickly zing. The recipe comes from Victoria Allyson, an Executive Chef and Pastry Chef who tweets at @StrawberryToast. She came to my rescue when I asked for shrimp recipe ideas on Twitter.

By the way, this is a perfect appetizer for Valentines Day!

For a non-alcoholic version, you can use sparkling cider or sparkling water. Just something with bubbles.

In goes the fresh squeezed grapefruit and orange juice (squeezed from the membranes after segmenting the citrus):

Pour it over the grilled shrimp and the citrus segments.

Add in a touch of chiffonade fresh mint.

Spoon it in a pretty dessert or even a wide mouthed wine glass:

Garnish with a mint sprig and it's beautifully elegant.

Citrus Shrimp Cocktail
recipe adapted from Victoria Allyson

I love butterflying and grilling my shrimp with the shell-on. The shell has so much flavor and protects the delicate shrimp from the hot pan or grill. You can butterfly them with the shell off - I'll leave that decision to you.
See how to butterfly shrimp video.

It's important to add toss everything together at the last minute, right before serving. If you let the shrimp sit in the citrus juice for too long, the acidity of the juice can make the shrimp a bit rubbery.

Oh, one last thing. Make sure you do not overcook the shrimp!

serves 4 as appetizer

1 pound jumbo shell-on shrimp
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
1 grapefruit
1 orange
10 fresh mint leaves, plus sprigs for garnish
1 cup sparkling wine, champagne, prosecco or sparkling cider

1. Section the grapefruit and the orange, reserving the membrane. Squeeze the membranes to extract the juice and discard the spent membranes.

2. Use small kitchen shears to snip off the shrimp legs, if still attached. Devein and butterfly the shrimp while keeping the shell on. Toss the shrimp with the olive oil. For healthier version, just spray both sides of shrimp with cooking oil.

3. Heat a frying pan or grill. When hot, lay all the shrimp opened and flat on the grill. Cook each side for 1-2 minutes, or until just barely cooked through. When the shrimp begin to change color, you can remove from the hot pan.

4. In a small bowl, combine the sparkling wine and citrus juice. In a large bowl, toss together the grilled shrimp with the orange/grapefruit sections and the mint. Divide and spoon into 4 small dessert bowls. Pour in the sparkling wine/juice mixture into each bowl.