Allright…again, I’m playing with food.
If you’ve hung around me, my Instagram account, or my blog here, you KNOW I love to take a known flavor profile or dish and kinda turn it on its ear to make something unique.
In November, 2019, I was working on developing recipes for a local well-known cidery and I started getting into working with gelatin. I like the idea of aspics and gelées, and, of course, flavor “pearls.” This is certainly not your ordinary “jello” by any means. At the same time, I don’t want it to become something pretentious — I even kinda hate the word “gelée” because it sounds snooty, but hey, it IS what it is.
So I’ve had this idea to make a new form of Shrimp Cocktail, one in which the “cocktail” is an actual alcohol-spiked gelatin.
So, here is version 1.0. I used a lime-based gelatin layer, spiked it with gin — the GOOD stuff, not your plain old “cooking” gin — and topped it with an herbal mayonnaise, finely diced cucumber and avocado, and topped them with poached prawns and finely snipped chives.
The gelatin layer is really simple, but what makes it fancy is the presentation and the gin. Since you aren’t cooking the gin (you add it after you’ve dissolved the gelatin in the lime/water mixture) you can afford to use a premium gin like Hendricks or Monkey 47, as I did in this recipe. Since Hendricks is herbal and cucumber-forward in its flavor profile, it would go well with this version of the “cocktail.”
Making the gelatin layer is super simple as you’ll see in the recipe. Just a few simple ingredients, simmer to dissolve, add gin. Pour into a fancy glass and let it sit for a few hours in the fridge to set.
Create your flavored mayonnaise mix, chill, then finely dice your garnishes. Consistency of dice is important, but don’t get all hung up on whether your ingredients are a PERFECT 1/4″ dice all around. Your guests will be ooh-ing and aah-ing they won’t notice that one little off cut. Save a few long pieces of chive for extra garnish and hang three extra large poached prawns on the glass as a finish. Looks IMPOSSIBLE, don’t it? But, yes, you can do this.
The textural variations in the finished dish is one that makes it so intriguing. But, I’m not DONE with this by any means.
Wait ’til you see what I did for version 2.0! I’m on a roll now. Stay tuned…
Shrimp Cocktail with Gin-Spiked Lime Gelée
- 1 dz prawns or extra large shrimp, poached, peeled, tails left on
- 1/2 cup fresh lime juice
- 1 cup water
- 3 tsp powdered, unflavored gelatin
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup gin
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 2 Tbsp fresh lime juice
- 1 Tbsp chives, minced
- 1/2 cup hot-house cucumber, finely diced
- 1 avocado, finely diced
- additional chives, for garnish
- Bring lime juice, water and salt to a boil in a small saucepan. Remove from heat, and sprinkle gelatin over the liquid, stirring to dissolve.
- Strain gelatin/juice mixture through a fine strainer into a measuring cup. Stir in the gin and allow to cool for 5 minutes. Divide mixture among four fancy cocktail glasses (such as champagne coupes or martini glasses). Cover and place in the refrigerator for 2 hours or until set.
- Meanwhile, combine mayonnaise, lime juice and chives in a small bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover and chill until ready to use.
- To serve, spoon or pipe a dollop of mayonnaise in the center of the lime/gin gelée. Sprinkle diced cucumber and avocado around the mayonnaise. Hang three prawns on the sides of each glass and top with additional chives, as desired.