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A good old shrimp cocktail is the best appetizer... cheap, quick and easy. Of course, growing up, shrimp cocktail meant cold shrimp getting soggy and rubberyas it rested on a bed of ice, and a store bought jar of cocktail sauce that had to be beaten to be opened. One pass through the mercado in Merida certainly let me know what I was missing. Huge apothecary jars of coctel de camarones hailed on high, tempting visitors to crowd into the seafood area and beg for more. Shrimp rolled in delicious sauce -- a little sweet, a little heat, and freshness from the cilantro -- put tasters on the fast track to a food coma. No more wet shrimp, no more fear that my guests will double dip, and no more what-do-I-do-with-this-tail dilemma.
Then, about a year ago, I was the proud (and extremely excited) winner of a Williams-Sonoma gift card from none other than Hispanic Kitchen! It was only fitting that an amazing Latin cookbook was among my purchases, so this recipe, adapted from that book, brings it back full circle. I replaced pre-cooked bay shrimp with standard, jumbo shrimp, sliced in half, though that would cut out a step in a pinch. I swapped the habanero chile that the original recipe calls for with a serrano or jalapeno. The result? Heat, tang, sweet, and refreshing flavor, laid against the cool creaminess of avocado makes a good old shrimp cocktail a thing of the past.
This Colombian version of a Hispanic food favorite combines a typical American import -- ketchup! The sweetness rounds out the sour of the lime juice and tempers the heat of the chile. Make extra and serve a few shrimp each on large, warmed tortilla chips to stretch the appetizer.
Shrimp Cocktail in Avocado Bowls
Serves 8 as a hearty appetizer
½ lb. cooked shrimp, cut in half, or bay shrimp
1 cup ketchup
3 tablespoons finely minced red onion
2 tablespoons minced cilantro
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
¼-½ seeded and minced serrano chile
1. Mix ingredients, ketchup through chile in a glass or non-reactive bowl.
2. Add shrimp and stir gently.
3. Cut avocados in half. To do so, using a large, sharp knife, place the end of the knife in the side of the avocado. Roll the avocado up the length of the knife to make an even cut. Remove the pit, and discard. Depending on the size of the pit, you may choose to remove a small amount of the avocado with a spoon. Chop that remainder and add to extra shrimp that is served with chips.
4. Using a slotted spoon, fill the center of the avocado with the shrimp mixture and enjoy!
Other recipes by Carolyn:
Camarones a la Criolla (Shrimp Creole Style)
Pollo en Fricasé
Bistec Encebollado (Steak and Onions)
Tacos de Carnitas
Sopa de Lentejas (Lentil Soup)
Pan de Bono
Huachinango a la Veracruzana (Snapper Veracruz)
Mil Colones Stew
Mofongo Relleno de Camarones
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