CLEVELAND CAULIFLOWER SHRIMP COCKTAIL
Flavors and textures of the sea without the sea. Nothing fishy here. Ever miss shrimp cocktail? This will do ya’ good!!
1 lg. head fresh cauliflower; remove outer stalks/leaves, core, and break into 3-4 lg. segments
8 c. water
1 t. salt
2 bags Shrimp & Crab Boil (a condiment spice bag for cooking seafood; I used McCormick brand- gluten-free)
In large pot bring water and salt to boil. Add the spice bags and boil for 1 minute.
Add cauliflower segments. Stir well. Cover and cook till just tender, being careful not to overcook. Remember you need to be able to dip pieces in cocktail sauce without them breaking. You want them as firm as shrimp.
When done, drain in colander well. When warm enough to handle, break or cut pieces from the larger segments into jumbo shrimp-size. What you want here is a small bud, or segment of a bud, attached to a piece of the stalk/stem.
Place all ‘shrimp’ in a 9 x 11 inch baking dish. Pour the marinade listed below over the cauliflower. Very gently lift with pancake turner and flip pieces till all are salmon colored. Evenly distribute in the dish, then place in refrigerator at least 2 hours, stirring (carefully) occasionally.
When ready to serve, drain in wire mesh strainer to remove any liquid.
1/4 c. carrot juice
zest and strained juice of 1 lg. lemon
1 t. salt
1 t. dried dill weed
1/4 t. paprika
sm. pinch saffron pistels, finely crushed between fingers
Combine marinade ingredients in cup. Stir well.
1 c. ketchup (Heinz brand is gluten-free)
1 T. prepared horseradish or to taste
1 t. liquid smoke
1 lg. lemon – cut lemon in half; save 1/2 for garnish, making zest strips with the peel*, then squeeze the other half and strain for the cocktail sauce
Combine all sauce ingredients in bowl. Stir well, then refrigerate till ready to use.
*Make your lemon zest strips.
Place each peel yellow side down on board, then using a sharp, wide knife run knife horizontally between the white part (pith) and the yellow part (peel), removing all of the white part.
Trim the rough edges of the peel, cutting into a rectangular shape. Now cut from end to end into 1/16th inch wide strips.
Place cocktail sauce in bowl. Place in center of platter.
Surround with cauliflower shrimp, with stems/tails pointing upward, so guests can grab the pieces like they would an actual shrimp.
Place 1/2 of the lemon you saved, on the platter as garnish, then sprinkle the ‘shrimp’ with the lemon zest strips. Serve.
Notes: Cauliflower is about as close as you’re going to get in trying to replicate the texture of a shrimp. If I went to a gathering where this appetizer was served, I would be delighted beyond words!