I did do a test of commercial cocktail sauce vs. this recipe of homemade -and I did like the flavor of the homemade. Family also preferred the homemade one (did a blind taste test) but I don't know if it is ABSOLUTELY necessary to have homemade cocktail sauce if one is short on time. My friend JEL has an amazing cocktail sauce recipe and I'm going to ask her for it (it has horseradish, lime juice and cilantro and is yummy) and which is now on here as an option.
This is from Ina Garten's Book Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics, and it is so wonderfully simple, anyone can have it at any time. Roasting the shrimp vs. the traditional boiling the shrimp intensifies the shrimp flavor. My only warning is to really watch it at the end of cooking - once it turns pink - remove it from the oven - there is nothing worse than TOUGH shrimp cocktail which is what can quickly happen with this recipe.
Roasted Shrimp Cocktail (Ina Garten's Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics)
2 pounds (12 to 15-count) shrimp (Costco has already deveined shrimp available, usually during the weekends $8.99/lb)
1 tablespoon good olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Peel and devein the shrimp, leaving the tails on. Place them on a sheet pan with the olive oil, salt, and pepper and spread them in 1 layer. Roast for 8 to10 minutes, just until pink and firm and cooked through. Set aside to cool.Cocktail Sauce1/2 cup chili sauce (recommended: Heinz)
1/2 cup ketchup
3 tablespoons prepared horseradish
2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon hot sauce (recommended: Tabasco)
Combine all the ingredients in a bowl. Serve with the shrimp.
Lime Cilantro Cocktail Sauce (from friend JEL)
1/2 cup ketchup
2 tablespoons prepared horseradish
1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lime juice
2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro
1/4 teaspoon tabasco (more if you like it with some kick)
Combine all the ingredients in a bowl. Refrigerate at least 3 hours to let the flavors meld.