No exaggeration, you’re looking at the most delicious recipe I’ve indulged in since summer began.  I first made it for an appetizer at the lake, but I love it so much that I’ve been keeping it in the fridge just to have for lunch or a quick snack.  The Pickle is hooked on it, too.  Our favorite way to eat it is standing at the kitchen counter, scooping it up with saltines right out of the sleeve, and passing the Valentina sauce back and forth between us.  Classy.

Assuming you’re far fancier than moi, definitely go the extra mile and serve this spicy shrimp in martini glasses with wedges of lime on the rim.  Or, one step up from the kitchen counter routine: set a serving bowl on ice, put your crackers in a pretty basket, and let guests help themselves.

If you were to order Coctel de Camarones from a street vendor in Mexico, it would be served with packets of soda crackers, so please – no scoffing at the saltines.  They’re essential here — my chef idol (Rick Bayless) said so.  I’d do just about anything he said.  If he told me to eat my Mexican shrimp cocktail with wood chips off the bottom of an old running shoe, I’d probably do that too.

Have a great week.  : )

COCTEL de CAMERONES
SERVES: 4
SOURCE: sunset.com; recipe by Rick Bayless

1 lb. (71 to 90 pieces per lb.) peeled, cooked small shrimp (Sendik’s Colossal Freshwater Prawns are on sale; see note)
¾ cup ketchup
¼ cup Mexican hot sauce (LaPreferida Hot Sauce or Captain Rodney’s Corazon Del Fuego Hot Sauce are on sale but I my personal choice is always Valentina)
½ cup loosely packed chopped fresh cilantro, thick bottom stems cut off
2 to 3 tbsp. fresh lime juice (limes are on sale)
1 small white onion, cut into ¼-inch pieces
¾ cup clam juice, shellfish stock, or water
Salt to taste
1 ripe avocado, pitted, flesh scooped from the skin and sliced
2 to 3 dozen crackers or 8 to 12 oz. tortilla chips (Frontera Tortilla Chips are on sale. but I’d use saltines)
2 limes, cut into wedges (limes are on sale)

Combine shrimp, ketchup, hot sauce, cilantro, lime juice, and onion in a large bowl. Stir in clam juice. Taste and season with salt if you think it needs it. Refrigerate until serving time.

Serve cocktail in small bowls topped with slices of avocado, accompanied by saltine  crackers (for a very authentic touch) or tortilla chips, and lime wedges for your guests to squeeze over the cocktail. Finish the cocktail within an hour or so of serving (meaning, refrigerate anything not eaten within the hour).

Make ahead: The sauce can be made, covered, and refrigerated for several days before serving; I like it better the second day.  Regarding the shrimp, you can use the Sendik’s Colossal Freshwater Prawns that are on sale – you’ll just need to cook them first.  They’d look pretty grilled and hung off the side of a martini glass, or you could chop them up and add them to the sauce after you’ve cooked them.  Also, I’ve made this with about a 1/2 cup of 1/4″ diced English cucumber added in too.  Feel free to toss some in if you’ve got it on hand (I think Chef Bayless would say it was all right).

Blogs, Featured, Fresh, Frugal, Fabulous | August 6th, 2013