Voodoo Shrimp Cocktail

By AJ Dronkers, Edible DC. Recipe from Chef Executive chef Joseph Learner of the Marriott Renaissance Dupont Circle Hotel

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We dined recently at the Renaissance Dupont Circle Hotel for their Navigator Table event series - a partnership with noted TV personality, Andrew Zimmern. Executive Chef Joseph Learner hails from the Carolinas and shows off those southern roots with his in-house smoked meats program. But but I was really blown away by his Voodoo Shrimp. It was a fun riff on your typical shrimp cocktail recipe and it is served with a horseradish panna cotta and with a signature voodoo cocktail sauce. Of course I asked if Chef Joseph would share it with our followers for a delicious new twist on a classic holiday appetizer. 

Voodoo Shrimp Cocktail

Yield 8 servings

Horseradish Panna Cotta  

•  1 cup sour cream 

•  3 tablespoons Dijon mustard

•  2 tablespoons prepared horseradish

•  ½ teaspoon kosher salt 

•   1 3/4 cups half-and-half

•  2 teaspoon gelatin (from a .25-ounce package)

Place the gelatin in a small ramekin, add 3 tablespoons warm water and stir until completely dissolved.

In a medium pot add the half and half, Dijon mustard, prepared horseradish and salt. Bring to a simmer on med/low stirring constantly to avoid breaking the mixture. Shut off heat and add gelatin. Stir until completely combined.

In small to medium-sized glass ramekins, use a 3 ounce ladle to pour the mixture into the each ramekin. The ramekins will not be full. Refrigerate until set, at least 4 hours. The panna cottas can be kept refrigerated, covered with plastic wrap, up to 2 days. 

Voodoo Cocktail Sauce

•  ¼ cup Texas Pete Sriacha

•  ½ cup honey

•  1 cup diced hot-house tomato 

•  2 cloves garlic 

•   1 ounce butter (unsalted) 

•  2 teaspoon gelatin (from a .25-ounce package)

In small sauce pan place all ingredients in and simmer on medium heat for 15 minutes. With a Vitamix, magic bullet, ninja or other blender – puree until smooth. Place sauce in plastic container and in refrigerator to cool.

Poached Jumbo Shrimp

•  2 pounds medium-medium large shrimp, fresh and shell on

•  ½ gallon water

•  2 tablespoons Old Bay seasoning

•  1 tablespoon kosher salt

•  2 lemons juiced (throw lemon carcass in pot too)

•  1 small yellow onion, medium diced

•  2 celery stalks washed, medium diced

In large pot place water, old bay, salt , lemon juice and carcasses , onion and celery and bring to a boil. Add shrimp to boiling liquid for about 4 minutes until it is done. 

While shrimp is boiling get a separate container with ice and fill with water, this will be to rapid chill the shrimp from overcooking.

Once shrimp have turned pink and are done, strain them out of the pot and place them in the ice water to stop cooking. After shrimp have chilled, under running water, peel and devein shrimp but leave the tails on.

Assembly of Voodoo Shrimp Cocktail

Grab a ramekin with horseradish panna cotta and spoon 2 tablespoons of cocktail sauce in the middle, gently place 3 jumbo poached shrimp side by side in ramekin, tail up, and garnish with minced celery hearts or micro greens if available under the overhanging tails.

Peach, Arugula, Endive and Marcona Almond Salad

by Wolf Trap Executive Chef Chris Faessen

Embrace summer with a picnic at Wolf Trap, one of the very best things to do in the Capital Region. Go early and take a stroll on the historic property, check out the gardens and beehives that produce over 100 pounds of honey a year. Spread a blanket on the lawn, open a bottle of wine and watch the music under the stars.

We asked Executive Chef Chris Faessen for some seasonal, shareable and delicious bites with ingredients drawn from the summer farmers markets. No time to pack a picnic? Wolf Trap’s OVATIONS restaurant offers on-site dining, and the option to call ahead, order a custom picnic and pick it up before the show. To order, call 703-255-4017 or visit www.ovationsva.com.

 Peach, Arugula, Endive and Marcona Almond Salad (Photo by Peyton Weikert)

Peach, Arugula, Endive and Marcona Almond Salad (Photo by Peyton Weikert)


Peach, Arugula, Endive and Marcona Almond Salad

  • 1 head Belgian endive
  • 1 tablespoon peach purée
  • ½ tablespoon finely diced shallot
  • ½ tablespoon finely chopped Italian parsley, no stems
  • 3 tablespoons sherry vinegar
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ¾ pound ripened peaches
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • ½ tablespoons minced chives
  • 1 cup arugula
  • ¼ cup salted Marcona almonds

Prepare the endive by cutting ½ inch from the bottom of the endive head. The outer leaves will easily come off the core. Continue cutting every ½ inch or so, which will allow the leaves to fall off the core. Place leaves in a bowl of ice water to keep fresh.

In a medium bowl, whisk together peach purée, shallot, parsley and vinegar. Then slowly whisk in oil. Cut peaches into ¼-inch-thick slices. Finely chop any leftover peach trimmings to add to the vinaigrette. Stir diced peach bits into the dressing. Season the dressing with salt and pepper.

Remove endive from ice bath and pat dry. In bowl toss arugula and endive with peaches and the peach vinaigrette. Garnish with the salted Marcona almonds.

Roasted Spring Onion Tops

  • 1–2 bunches of spring onions (or large green onions with robust tops) 
  • Olive oil 
  • Sea salt

Heat oven to 475°. Cut the tops into 1-inch pieces and place them in a bowl. Toss them with a couple of tablespoons of good olive oil, sprinkle with sea salt and spread out on a cooking sheet. Roast until very crispy and brown, about 12–15 minutes. Serve in bowls for snacking or toppings for soups, sandwiches, tacos, etc.