This week Jan was hard at work perfecting the recipe for a different kind of cocktail, the Mexican style shrimp cocktail, and I was happy to oblige as taste tester. That is, after I had the first, delicious spoonful.
The reason for this: In the past, I was probably guilty of staring at one too many men in hole-in-the-wall taquerias who ordered shrimp cocktail. Not that I was checking these guys out, I was more in awe of what they were eating, and the very fact that they were eating it. I would watch them, carefully walking to their seats, balancing this oversized glass filled with bright colors that had shrimp tails peeking out of it. The whole time, they were probably wondering why this strange girl was staring at them.
To me, it seemed so odd to be drinking/slurping/eating shrimp out of a glass, and the term shrimp cocktail didn’t do anything to make it seem less strange to me. A cocktail to me involved juice mixtures from cranberries, not clams. Still, I probably shouldn’t have been staring.
Luckily, I met a man (Jan) who liked ordering these things. So it was OK for me to be staring at my own date. But still, I never tried the shrimp cocktail. For some reason, I had it in my head that this dish was for men, and men only, as they were only people I’d ever seen eating it in taquerias. And besides, I had no business eating shrimp out of a glass.
But, like he always does, Jan got me to change my often narrow-minded ways. And now I finally see why these guys were so keen on this dish. After prepping all the ingredients, boiling the shrimp, and combining with a few key seasonings, I had my first surprising taste. It was cool, refreshing, flavorful, and not fishy, like I’d feared. I revise my statement: shrimp does belong in a glass, and now I’ll happily sip this shrimp cocktail from from mine.
Jan’s Mexican style shrimp cocktail
Prep time 20 minutes
24 fl ounces Clamato
3/4 lb shrimp
1 cloves of garlic (minced)
2 limes juiced, a little zest
1 large cucumber (seeded, medium dice)
1 large avocado (medium dice)
¼ cup cilantro
2 tsp prepared horseradish
½ tsp Tapatio sauce
Salt, pepper to taste
In a large bowl combine, cucumber, avocado, cilantro, garlic, Clamato, and lime juice and zest. Set aside. Cook shrimp and cut into large pieces, and stir into clamato mixture. Add horseradish, Tapatio, and salt and pepper to taste. If you like it hot, add more horseradish and Tapatio. Can be served immediately, but it’s better to refrigerate for 3 hours for flavors to meld together.