I love shrimp cocktail; there’s just something about the wonderful combination of sweet, juicy shrimp and rich, flavored ketchup that reminds me of my childhood and puts me in instant celebration mode.

But I was thinking lately. Though I’m not exactly getting tired of the traditional version, I probably am working on my 5000th shrimp cocktail in which the ketchup is flavored with horseradish. All right… I’ll never stop working on it. However, in recent travels to northern Mexico, and to border areas of California and Texas, I’ve been seeing these wonderful pile-ups of cold saucy shellfish in shrimp-cocktail dishes, or parfait dishes, that are essentially shrimp cocktails–with flavorings other than horseradish bolstering the ketchup. Happily, like horseradish, these flavorings are all things that you can find in any supermarket.

Next time you’re contemplating shrimp cocktail at home–or next time you’re making a Mexican dinner, and looking for something new for starters–give a try to my adaptation of a “shrimp cocktail” that I loved in San Antonio, Texas.

Margaritas, please.

Mexican Shrimp Cocktail
Makes enough for 6 first-course servings

3 Cups large chunks of peeled, cooked shrimp (about 36 medium shrimp)
3 Tablespoons minced raw tomato
3 Tablespoons minced cilantro (plus a few extra leaves for garnish)
4 teaspoons minced green olive
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 (or the West Indies Hot Creole Pepper Sauce, or any other hot sauce you like)

1. In a large bowl, mix together the shrimp, 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 the shrimp. Season to taste with salt and pepper. 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.

NOTE: If you prefer to make this a shellfish cocktail, you can take out, say, a cup of shrimp, and add a cup of something else (I’ve enjoyed this dish with lump crab meat and with raw clam bellies along with the shrimp.)

Supermarket Marvels

The Rosengarten Report will often feature recipes designated “Supermarket Marvels.” Hey, I love esoteric dishes (as long as they’re good) made with the trendiest, hardest-to-find ingredients as much as the next foodie does. But, increasingly, I grow weary of the search. What’s wrong with all of that good stuff in our supermarkets, if it’s imaginatively purchased and turned into delicious food? Nothing at all, say I. Familiarity should not breed contempt; in my gastronomic world, it should breed… dinner!

Publisher’s Note: This recipe and others by David Rosengarten appear on Epicurus.com from “The Rosengarten Report” which may be ordered from DavidRosengarten.com.


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