ORIGINAL STARTERS: GRILLED SHRIMP COCKTAIL Friday, April 27, 2012
Don’t be alarmed. Any chef worth his or her Danscos will tell you that what’s inside the the head is the tastiest part of a shrimp.
Most likely invented in New Orleans in the early 20th century, the shrimp cocktail had long been a favorite summer barbecue food, but seemed to lose its luster in that century’s waning years.
But just like about everything else these days, it’s waxing its way back to backyard grills and supper club menus everywhere.
And while do leave on the heads of these Gulf of Mexico prawns, we do de-shell their bodies before charring them on the grill and propping them all up on a small stalk of grilled Romaine lettuce.
Of course, you can’t have a shrimp cocktail without the cocktail, and our cocktail sauce, served in a little glass boat, is a keeper, made with tomatoes, parsley, finely minced onions, celery and fennel and seasoned with freshly grated horseradish.
So, once you’ve eaten their meaty centers, what do you do with the heads?
You could (if you’re brave) just pop them in your mouth and eat them, crunchy bits and all. Many before you have.
But most simply pluck up the head by its antennae and suck out the tasty bits inside.
That’ll impress your date. Just don’t go overboard and try to impress him or her by eating the tail. That would be gauche, and you might come off as a little desperate.
But eat that head, and whomever it is you are trying to impress will be bound by the spell of your very own cool that you’ve most certainly cast over them.