Shrimp Cocktail with Persimmon Pomegranate Salsa

This is a brightly colored and flavored shrimp cocktail that uses an autumnal fruit salsa instead of standard cocktail sauce. The jewel-like colors make it perfect for holiday tables, and the bright flavors go well with celebratory champagne. If you want to really pull out the stops, substitute or add chunks of cooked and chilled lobster meat.

INGREDIENTS:

Salsa
½ cup pomegranate seeds
½ cup Fuyu persimmon, diced the size of pomegranate seeds
½ cup Mutsu or Golden Delicious apple, diced as above
½ cup pear-apple (optional), diced as above
1 heaping tablespoon finely diced shallot
1 teaspoon rice vinegar, or as needed
1 tablespoon orange juice, or as needed
½ tablespoon finely shredded shiso, mint, cilantro, or a combination (optional)

Shrimp Cocktail
1½ pounds 26-30 size shrimp, cooked, peeled and cleaned, chilled
1 cup avocado, cut into ½ inch dice
2 tablespoons tobiko*
8-16 chives, cut into 3-inch pieces from tip down (reserve the rest for another use)

METHOD:

For the salsa:
Mix all ingredients except the liquids and herbs and gently toss well to mix. Drizzle the liquids over all and toss to coat. Taste. If needed, adjust flavors with vinegar and/or orange juice. If using the herbs, scatter over the salsa and gently mix in just before use.

For the shrimp cocktail:
In a large, wide, non-reactive bowl, mix the shrimp with the salsa, turning gently. Scatter the avocado over the bowl and gently fold in. Place a scoop of shrimp-salsa mixture into four wine or martini glasses (or small shallow bowls). Scatter tobiko over each cocktail, and then place 2 chive tips upright in a “V” on the front of the salad. Serve cold with chives facing each guest.

*Tobiko is flying fish roe as used at sushi bars. It is available in Asian markets and some grocery stores. It is the perfect size and texture for this dish — it’s the size of a pin-head that pops. Do not attempt to use ikura or masago (salmon and smelt, respectively) as they are either too big and salty. If you cannot find it, the dish will not suffer for its lack.

YIELD: This recipe makes 4 large cocktails or 8 small starters.

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