Give Your Seafood Dips Some Pizazz With This Classic Sauce

Array of seafood dips
Array of seafood dips - Fudio/Getty Images

If you love seafood but are serving a crowd, making lobster thermidor for everyone probably isn't practical. Instead, you can serve up a tasty seafood dip. These dips come packed with your choice of seafood and are thick and creamy, thanks to ingredients like mayo and cream cheese. Plus, the way you eat them is versatile, too — they're perfect for scooping up with your favorite type of chips, pretzels, veggies, or bread.

With all that said, if you want to take an already good dip and turn it into a great one, all you need to do is add a little bit of cocktail sauce. Cocktail sauce adds a noticeable acidity to your dip thanks to the lemon juice and tomatoes in it, which can help to balance out some of the rich, creamy, and sweet flavors of the seafood. What's more, it often has a light bite, too, giving a bit more depth and pizzazz. And, of course, its bright red color adds a subtle hue to an otherwise colorless dip.

Read more: 16 Tips To Make Your Shrimp Taste So Much Better

What To Know About Adding Cocktail Sauce To Seafood Dip

Bowl of cocktail sauce
Bowl of cocktail sauce - Bhofack2/Getty Images

Cocktail sauce is versatile when it comes to seafood dip. Its tang balances out the sweet flavor of a crab or other shellfish dip. It can also tone down the richness of fatty fish like salmon, and it can be used in both hot and cold dips. Whether making a hot crab dip baked in the oven or a cold tuna spread, cocktail sauce adds acidity that works well regardless of the temperature.

Now, keep in mind that different cocktail sauces have different flavor profiles. Some varieties have more sugar, resulting in a sweeter sauce. If you find this is the case, you can use a bit of added lemon juice in your dip to help balance it out and bring out the tanginess of the cocktail sauce. On the other hand, if your dip is overly acidic, you can mix in a dash of honey or brown sugar to enhance the sweetness. For those who want a bolder horseradish flavor, add more of this ingredient or give the dip some spice by stirring in crushed red chili pepper flakes or hot sauce. Play around with your sauce to create a flavor profile you love that plays well against your seafood dip.

Tips And Tricks For Making A Better Dip

Spicy crab dip
Spicy crab dip - Elena Veselova/Shutterstock

One thing to note about cocktail sauce is that you don't need much of it to add flavor and color to your dip. Just a couple of teaspoons for each eight-serving batch of dip should be enough. Of course, you can always add more for additional color and flavor; just taste the dip as you go to make sure you don't go overboard. And make sure to choose the best-quality cocktail sauce you can find. Better-quality ingredients lead to a more flavorful dish.

And, if you don't like cocktail sauce? You can make a few quick substitutions. A mild salsa can work well as an alternative. Plus, this swap has the added benefit of ingredients like chopped onions and bell peppers to add even more flavor. Another option could be to swap out the cocktail sauce for chili sauce, which adds a bit more sweetness to the dish but still gives it a touch of tang. Or, try a harissa sauce to add a smoky element while maintaining the tangy acidity and horseradish bite of regular cocktail sauce. Whether you stick to cocktail sauce or try one of these similar swaps, adding a dash to your favorite seafood dip recipe is a quick trick to add a boost of tangy flavor and bright color.

Read the original article on The Daily Meal.