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Recipe: Mexican Shrimp and Vegetables "Cocktail-Style"


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This main dish for two was inspired by a Mexican shrimp cocktail recipe from Rick Bayliss, which is typical of seafood cocktails you can find throughout Mexico. For the entree version, I've increased the proportion of vegetables and cut them into larger pieces. I like to serve this with a small quesadilla on the side.

Yield: 2 servings


  • 8-10 ounces medium peeled, deveined shrimp
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 limes
  • 1/2 small onion, sliced thin
  • 2-inch length English cucumber, quartered and sliced
  • 2 small tomatoes, seeded and cut into eighths
  • 1/2 small red bell pepper, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1/2 small jalapeno, seeded and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped cilantro, plus additional whole sprigs for garnish
  • 1/2 avocado, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • Sauce

  • 1/2 cup Clamato or other tomato-clam juice
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 2 tablespoon (or more) Mexican hot sauce such as Valentina or Cholula
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin (or to taste)
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt


1. Bring a medium pot of water (about 2 quarts) to a simmer with 2 teaspoons of kosher salt and the juice of one of the limes. Add the shrimp and cook, stirring, for 45 to 60 seconds or so, just until shrimp are turning opaque (they should be almost but not quite cooked through -- the shrimp will continue to cook as they cool). Drain and place in a bowl. Toss with the juice of the second lime and refrigerate for 20 minutes or more.

2. Place the sliced onion in a small bowl and cover with cold water. Let soak for 20 minutes or so, then drain.

3. Meanwhile, make the sauce: place the Clamato, ketchup and hot sauce in a small bowl and whisk until blended. Slowly pour in the oil, while continuing to whisk, until oil is incorporated. Mix in the cumin and a pinch of kosher salt. Taste for seasoning and adjust, adding more salt or hot sauce to taste.

3. Remove the shrimp from the refrigerator. Toss the cooled shrimp (including lime juice) with the vegetables and cilantro. Pour the sauce over, toss again, and taste for seasoning. You can do this ahead of time, but if so, don't add the avocado until right before serving.

5. Garnish with a cilantro sprig. Serve with quesadillas or tortilla chips, if desired.

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