Cauliflower Cocktail a.k.a. Vegan Shrimp Cocktail

Recipe from Mary McDougall via “The McDougall Newsletter”

I got the idea for this recipe from a comment that I saw on the internet about a restaurant in Virginia that serves a dish like this as an appetizer instead of shrimp cocktail. I have modified the recipe only slightly to make it a bit easier and to contain less sodium. This is really fun (and delicious) to eat and is a great conversation starter when served as a party appetizer. I just felt I had to share it with all of you because it is something you may never have seen, much less tried, if I didn’t write about it.

Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 10 minutes
Resting Time: 10 minutes
Chilling Time: 1 hour
Servings: variable

3 quarts water
½ cup Old Bay Seasoning mix
1 onion, quartered
3 whole peeled garlic cloves
¼ cup lemon juice
1 large head cauliflower, cut into 1 inch florets
Cocktail sauce, chilled (see tips below)

Place the water in a large pot and add the seasoning mix, onion, garlic cloves and lemon juice. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer at a low boil for 10 minutes. Remove onions and garlic from broth with a slotted spoon and discard. Return liquid to a boil. Addcauliflower, turn off heat, cover and let rest for 8-10 minutes. Drain at once and spread cauliflower in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet and let cool for a few minutes on the counter. Place uncovered in refrigerator to finish cooling. Serve with chilled cocktail sauce to dip the cauliflower florets into before popping into your mouth.

Cut the cauliflower into florets that can easily be dipped once and then popped whole into your mouth. Test the florets for tenderness while they are in the hot water; you don’t want them to be too soft, nor too hard, usually about 8-10 minutes is perfect.
The cauliflower may be prepared one to two days ahead of time and covered and refrigerated until serving. It may be served chilled or at room temperature, whichever you prefer.
There are many varieties of cocktail sauce available in most supermarkets. Be sure to choose an oil-free and fish-free variety, and feel free to spice it up a bit more by adding some horseradish and vegan Worcestershire sauce to taste.