Friday, May 11, 2012

A Twist on the Shrimp Cocktail

When I was a little girl, I used to love eating in nice restaurants. It was always such a treat to put on a pretty dress and order something that I thought was very elegant.  Since I was the oldest and only grandchild for many years, my Nana and Pappy really spoiled me.  Ordering Shirley Temples was standard upon my arrival.  I confess that I was a little bit like Eloise.

My favorite restaurant treat was a shrimp cocktail!  When the servers brought out the food in a pretty silver dish or large clear glass, Pappy would always remark about the size of the shrimp.  It's a fun memory I have.  Throughout my life I've always loved a good shrimp cocktail.

So on one of my earliest trips to Mexico, it was only natural that I order my favorite restaurant treat.  Imagine my surprise when a completely different kind of shrimp cocktail was placed in front of me.

Shrimp cocktail in Mexico is much more than a cold shrimp appetizer.  It can be an entire meal in many cases.  It's not just a restaurant treat; my former cook taught me how to make the best shrimp cocktail.  This week, I had a major craving for shrimp cocktail a la mexicana, so I decided to prepare one of my favorite treats.  This was my delicious dinner earlier this week!  So delicious.

Here's my final result with the pretty lime garnish!

The recipe is very easy to follow and no two shrimp cocktails are ever the same in Mexico.  Play with the quantities of the ingredients as you wish, adding more or less to suit your taste.

About a pound of cooked shrimp (sorry, I'm converting from kilograms)
1 small red onion
a handful of chopped cilantro
2-3 chopped tomatoes
a few handfuls of finely chopped cucumber
1 ripe avocado (cube almost all of it, reserve a few long slices for garnish)
4-5 key limes (make sure you choose extra squishy, juicy ones!)
1/2 cup ketchup
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 liter of chilled shrimp broth
Salsa Valentina or your favorite hot sauce

Since your shrimp is precooked, simply combine all of the ingredients.  Serve in a pretty martini or margarita glass and garnish with a slice of lime, a sprig of cilantro and a slice of avocado.

This should be enough for 4-6 martini glass servings, depending on the size of your glass.

This tastes amazing with tortilla chips or saltine crackers.  The ketchup is an unexpected ingredient, but really tastes fantastic in the shrimp cocktail.  Serve this dish at room temperature or chilled.


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