Grabbing the Gusto

Deirdre Reid – Freelance Writer & Home Cook

Attention food lovers! This is one of the best dishes I’ve made in a long time. I’m pretty good at picking winner recipes and making the right adjustments for my palate. Every now and then I get a dud – you don’t hear about those – but usually I can make them work. Work really well in this case.

This delectable appetizer (or dinner) is the lovechild of a Rick Bayless recipe from Serious Eats and a similar but different recipe from Eating Well. I took the elements I liked from each and came up with my own version of Mexican Shrimp Cocktail.

I made this for dinner, not an appetizer, since there are only two of us. It would be a smart choice for one of those hot and steamy nights since you only need the stove to boil the shrimp for a short time. I ladled the shrimp cocktail into a small bowl and put that on a plate with Sauteed Kale with Smoked Paprika and cheese quesadillas. Jim had club crackers on the side and I had chopped avocado.

The leftovers were equally fantastic. At the end, after “someone” picked the shrimp out of the leftovers, I was left with a little leftover tomatoey liquid with diced veggies. It tasted like a really good gazpacho.

I used the full 1/4 cup of hot sauce. I did a mix of Texas Pete and Sriracha. It was pretty spicy so only use that much if you like a lot of heat.

Mexican Shrimp Cocktail from Grabbing the Gusto

Mexican Shrimp Cocktail

You’ll need a medium pot with lid, colander and bowl.

  • 1 pound shrimp, chopped into bite-sized pieces if large – buy American only, don’t support Asian slave labor!
  • 1-1/2 cups grape or cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered
  • 1-1/2 cups diced cucumber
  • 1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup diced sweet onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  • 3/4 cup ketchup
  • 2-4 tablespoons hot sauce
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice (1 juicy lime)
  • 3/4 cup clam juice or shrimp broth
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Serving options:

  • Avocado, diced
  • Saltines, club crackers or tortilla chips
  • Cheese (or cheese with mushroom, onion, poblano, jalapeno, sweet bell peppers and garlic) quesadillas

Fill a pot halfway with water and bring to a boil. Add the shrimp, cook until pink and firm, 10 to 30 seconds. Drain shrimp in a colander and then dump into an ice bath.

Stir together the tomatoes, cucumber, bell pepper, onion, cilantro, ketchup, hot sauce, lime juice and clam juice in a bowl. Taste to see if it needs salt, pepper or more hot sauce. Add shrimp and stir well.

Serve immediately or, even better, chill it for up to 4 hours.

Serve with diced avocado, crackers or chips, and/or cheese quesadillas.

Adapted from: Coctel de Camarones, Eating Well May/June 2011 and Mexican-Style Shrimp Cocktail, Serious Eats

5 thoughts on “Mexican Shrimp Cocktail

  1. marynations says:

    ok – I wish I had remembered to get avocado, but this is indeed delish! I used chipotle ketchup with a nice kick…will let it chill and have a proper serving…

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