Have you ever noticed, when traveling in southern Texas, that “Shrimp Cocktail” on a menu can mean something other than the usual? What it can mean, deliciously so, is a version of the tomato-chile-lime juice-shellfish cocktail made in Campeche, in Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula. In America, the dish is usually a little sweeter and chunkier—and puts convenience products to great use. I like to make it with shrimp, crab meat and raw clams. The latter addition is for real seafood lovers. If you like your cocktail with a milder taste, eliminate the clams and use any 3-cup combo of cold, cooked shellfish you like for this utterly beguiling starter. Serve it in a parfait glass or a margarita glass as they do in San Antonio.
Makes enough for 6-8 first-course servings
1 cup large chunks of peeled, cooked shrimp (about 12 medium shrimp)
1 cup lump crab meat
1 cup raw clam bellies cut in half (from about 18 cherrystones)
3 tablespoons minced raw tomato
3 tablespoons minced cilantro (plus a few extra leaves for garnish)
4 teaspoons minced green olives
1/2 teaspoon minced fresh jalapeño (or more to taste)
1 cup ketchup
1/4 cup orange juice
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon Tabasco Garlic Pepper Sauce
1. In a large bowl, mix together the shellfish, tomato, cilantro, green olives and jalapeño.
2. In another bowl, prepare the sauce: mix together the ketchup, orange juice, lime juice, Worcestershire sauce and Tabasco Garlic Pepper Sauce. Blend well.
3. Add most of the sauce to shellfish mixture. Serve immediately, or refrigerate for several hours. Just before serving, top each cocktail with a little extra hot sauce, a little extra ketchup-orange sauce, and a few cilantro leaves. Serve on a lettuce leaf in a parfait dish, a wide margarita glass, or on a flat plate.