This is without a doubt one of my absolute favorite dishes. Until I recently made this I’ve only ordered it in restaurants. I was first introduced to this amazing “shrimp cocktail” in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, sometime in the early 80’s. I hung out there for a few months, living in a rented apartment, with breathtaking views of the azure sea, tropical foliage and daily visits from parrots. Small and colorful parrots, flitting from limb to limb, free entertainment at best. It was a little bit of paradise for a short moment in time.I suppose in our young years living “away” or “abroad” has a certain appeal. At that time the appeal was simply, living life simply, without a care in the world. Heading to the beach daily, hanging in my favorite beachside haunts, where the fish was fresh and the beer was cold. The waiters called me by name and took great care to keep me happy. Ah yes, those were the days! I have many memories from this stint in Mexico yet the one that stands out is my introduction to “coctel de camarones”. My man Dan will tell you, if I see it on a menu in a restaurant where the shrimp is likely to be fresh I’m ordering it. Like I said, “it is one of my all time favorites”.
Our temperatures have been soaring into three digit days and not really even cooling off at night. I needed something cool and refreshing for dinner. I bought some fresh shrimp at the farmers market, gulf shrimp, to be exact, also a favorite of mine. After grilling a few, and sweating quite a bit to do so, I decided a chilled shrimp recipe was in order. After perusing several summer issues of Cooking Light and such I remembered Puerto Vallarta and “coctel de camarones. BINGO!
The gulf shrimp boiled to perfection, the cool and creamy avocado and the bright orange tomato, mixed with onion, crunchy cucumber, cilantro and a bit of diced jalapeño was exactly what I needed. The freshness of the cilantro, the snap of the shrimp, the bite of jalapeño, it took me back to the peacefulness of salty ocean air, the sound of waves gently lapping the shore and hearing my name called as only a person of Mexican heritage can call it, “Ms…Leenda, mas cerveza?” “Ah, si, por favor”.
Coctel de Camarones
1 48oz. can Clamato
2 avocados, chopped
1 onion, diced
2 tomatoes, chopped
2 cucumbers, diced
1 jalapeño, seeded and diced (wear rubber gloves)
1/2 bunch of cilantro, chopped
1 pound of shrimp, boiled, peeled and deveined
1/4 cup ketchup
2 limes, juiced
4 dashes of tabasco
Mix all veggies together and add Clamato, ketchup, tabasco and lime juice, stir well. Add cilantro and shrimp and mix together. Cover and chill for 2-3 hours. Serve in individual glasses, topped with avocado and cilantro. Serve with tortilla chips on the side.