Cocktail Shrimp Boats
Cocktail Shrimp Boats

The name ‘Cocktail Shrimp Boats’ is a bit of a culinary play on words, as it makes a combination of the two very different terms, ‘cocktail shrimp’, and ‘shrimp cocktail’ The shrimp themselves are the tiny variety usually sold as  ‘cocktail’ shrimp, and, for this recipe, they are served in a version of the ‘cocktail sauce’ that is often served along side cold shrimp or other shellfish. The ‘boats’ of course, are the hollowed out plum tomatoes used as edible containers for the cocktail filling itself…

Ingredients for 4-6 Cocktail Shrimp Boats

  • 1 can (106g) small ‘cocktail’ shrimp, drained;
  • 2 medium (or three small) plum tomatoes;
  • 1 Tbsp. Mayonnaise;
  • 1/8 tsp. Mustard powder;
  • ½ tsp. Lemon juice;
  • ½ – 1 tsp. Sriracha Sauce
  • 1 tsp. grated Horseradish.

Ingredient Notes:

  1. Although canned cocktail shrimp are used here, the same volume of the very tiny frozen variety will actually work even better if you can find them.
  2. The Sriracha sauce, if you do not have any on hand, can be substituted with any chili sauce you like, as long as it is not heavily adulterated with other flavors. Naturally, you can beef up the amount of the latter if you would like a good spicy kick to the shrimp.
  3. The dressing for the shrimp ‘cocktail’ sauce is very nice with Heinz English Salad Cream substituting for the mayonnaise. If you do use it, you may wish to omit the mustard powder and lemon juice.
  4. You will probably have to use a commercial horseradish condiment here, but if you can lay your hands on fresh Horseradish Root, then use that instead.

The Method

Shrimp salad mix
Shrimp salad mix

Making the filling just involves mixing the drained shrimp with all the other ingredients (excepting, of course, the tomatoes). However, while you can simply use the shrimp whole, as they come from the can, you can also chop some portion, or all of them, to produce a different consistency for your filling. Chopping all of them, especially to a very fine degree, will result in too much of a ‘pasty’ texture, but coarsely chopping about half of them achieves a pleasant textural effect, and this is how the mix is prepared in the above picture.

Hollowed-out plum tomato ‘boats’
Hollowed-out plum tomato ‘boats’

Making the shrimp ‘boats’ is just as simple as cutting plum tomatoes in half and scooping out the ‘innards’ (which you can save for the stockpot, if you run a frugal kitchen). Obviously, the number of boats you need for your filling will depend on the size of the tomatoes you use, but a mixture using just one can of shrimp will make 4 decently filled boats if you use medium sized ones. Also, you can, if you want to get really fancy, flute the edges of the tomatoes before filling them, but this probably not a good idea with small ‘boats’ as you will be reducing the sides just a little bit too much.

Anyway, once you have made your boats, the final assembly is no more difficult than mounding the filling attractively in each of them and garnishing as you see fit. For this recipe, the garnish is just a sprinkling of dried parsley over the top, but leaves of fresh parsley, or perhaps a sprig tucked in to the ‘stem’ end of the tomato, would work very nicely too. You could place all of your boats, especially if you make a double or triple batch, on a single tray to be handed around as hors d’oeuvres, if you like, but here, two each are plated as an appetizer serving with a drop or two of additional hot sauce added for visual appeal along with a sprig of fresh Rosemary.


Comments, questions or suggestions most welcome!