Poor Man’s “Shrimp” Cocktail

I know I’ve complained before about not being able to eat any seafood and how much it angers me because I love both shrimp and crab.

Well, I’m delighted to say that I found quite a good substitute for the time being. I was reading an issue of Bon Appetit magazine and they shared this recipe for shrimp cocktail. Instead of using shrimp, however, they used cauliflower. I was perplexed to say the least.

I have to be honest and say that I’ve never liked cauliflower. But desperate times call for desperate measures and I was willing to try anything that would pass for shrimp cocktail. So, I figured why not give it a shot. The ingredients were cheap, great for a my empty wallet, and it was a relatively simple recipe.

I was very hesitant in trying the first bite; it smelled delicious but I’m obviously still a baby when it comes to eating certain vegetables. But I ate it and it was so good, I just had to share it. If I had eaten this with my eyes closed, I would have been 100% convinced that I was eating shrimp. Not only did it have the same taste as shrimp cocktail; the cauliflower had the same texture of it as well.

This is a great appetizer idea for anyone with allergies or a low budget. It’s super easy and tastes delicious. I do have to warn you, though. While steaming the cauliflower, no matter how good the ‘broth’ that it’s in smells, do not try to taste it. My boyfriend learned this the hard way and he spent a good five minutes spitting into the sink. The broth is meant to provide loads of flavor to the cauliflower, not to be eaten or drank in any way.

Poor Man’s “Shrimp” Cocktail
(Adapted from Bon Appetit Magazine)

1/2 c. old bay seasoning*
1 onion, quartered
6 garlic cloves
2 lemons, cut in half
1 lb. cauliflower, cut in florets
(Cocktail sauce for dipping)

*Bon Appetit’s recipe called for crab boil seasoning. I could not find this anywhere and decided to try my luck with just old bay seasoning. It turned out well for me.

Combine old bay, onions and garlic in a large pot with 12 cups water. Squeeze the juice from the lemons into the pot and add the halves as well. Put the pot on high heat and boil; cook for about 10 minutes. Remove the garlic, onions and lemons from the pot and bring the liquid to a boil once more. Taking the pot off heat, add the cauliflower and cover. Let stand until the cauliflower is crisp-tender, about 10 minutes. Drain the cauliflower and lay out on a sheet; let cool completely before serving. Best served chilled and with cocktail sauce.

Also, I halved the recipe in the magazine and didn’t add any salt; I thought the old bay seasoning would be enough and it was, at least, for me.

I think I’m finally starting to like cauliflower.

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11 thoughts on “Poor Man’s “Shrimp” Cocktail

  1. I’ve never heard anyone call it a shrimp cocktail – that’s weird… it’s a prawn cocktail :D. You Americans confuse me. This looks nice and fresh :D. It’s quite different to a prawn cocktail though. Probably in a good way :)

  2. love this idea!! I’m with you… I’ve never really liked cauliflower… but I gave in and made myself try some roasted the other year.. and I liked it! I mean I didn’t love it… but it was good! I love how you used it to make a shrimp cocktail, awesome recipe!

  3. You know what would make it even better. Instead of cocktail sauce, use horse radish, mixed with ketchup, and a squeeze of lemon. It tastes more fresh and would pair beautifully with your lovely fresh “shrimp.” haha

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