Hello! Welcome, friends. Leading up to Cinco de Mayo, I am sharing another Mexican recipe; today we have Cóctel de Camarónes, or Mexican Shrimp Cocktail. Mexican Shrimp Cocktail is a bit more robust than the type we usually see on an appetizer menu. This version has diced jicama, cucumbers, onions and avocado. It’s refreshing and light, with a little bit of spice. Well, let’s get right to it!
I have one pound of 16/20 shrimp. The 16/20 number refers to the size of the shrimp; it means that there are about 16 to 20 shrimp in one pound, making these 16/20 shrimp on the larger size. We will lightly poach these shrimp so they stay moist and bouncy. Since they are the star of this show, we don’t want to overcook them.
We have one whole onion that we will halve, then dice one half and chop the other half into chunks. The chunks are going to flavor the poaching water. Fill a medium-sized saucepan about 3/4-full with water. Add 4 tablespoons of Kosher salt. If you are using table salt, only add two tablespoons. Add the onion chunks and the minced garlic to the water. Bring to a boil. While that is heating, peel and rinse the shrimp.
Once the water is boiling, turn off the heat, add the shrimp and cover. Let the shrimp poach in the hot water for 2 minutes, or until the shrimp is pink, opaque and cooked through. Then, use a spider or slotted spoon to transfer the shrimp to a colander (try to avoid scooping too much onion). Rinse the shrimp with cold water and let them cool, you can toss a few handfuls of ice on them too.
While the shrimp is cooling, let’s make the sauce and prep the rest of the ingredients. If you can find a whole fresh jicama, go with that. The pre-prepped sticks are often quite dry. Fresh jicama is juicy, like an apple, and so refreshing. If you have a small jicama, peel it with a vegetable peeler and slice it into planks, then slice those planks into batons, and finally cube those batons. I am adding a diced fresh jalapeño, but this is optional. Dice half an English cucumber and dice the four avocado halves. You can squeeze some lime juice over the avocado so it won’t brown while we get everything together.
Combine the ketchup, clam juice and hot sauce, stir until smooth and add the lime juice. Stir until smooth. Taste it and add more hot sauce, if you like. We love Valentina Sauce, it’s a smooth picante sauce that comes in mild and hot, and it’s really flavorful. I use it for seasoning my eggs, tacos, and it goes so well in this sauce because it brings so much more flavor than heat. It’s available at most grocery stores, and I definitely recommend seeking it out.
Cóctel de Camarónes Assembly
Add the veggies, the shrimp, chopped cilantro and diced jalapeño (if using) to a large mixing bowl. Pour on the sauce and toss to combine. Taste it after you toss; add fresh cracked black pepper and more salt if it needs it. Toss again after adding additional seasoning. We want to add the avocado at the very end because we don’t want to mash it into guacamole.
Finally, add the avocado and gently fold it in to combine and coat the avocado in sauce.
To serve, spoon servings into fancy margarita glasses if you have them! I don’t have them, so I am just serving with a handful of tortilla chips, a few lime wedges and a another sprinkling of cilantro leaves.
This is a great appetizer! Make it more of a salad and add some roasted or fresh corn kernels; make it a light main dish and add some black beans! You can get super creative with this dish, it’s all about the shrimp and the sauce, so make it your own with additional ingredients.
Easy Cóctel de Camarónes is great for a Cinco de Mayo get together and it’s a great hot-weather dish, so pin this recipe on Pinterest to keep on your summertime menu repeat! Check out my other Cinco de Mayo recipe: Green Chili Chorizo Burgers. And stay tuned because on Wednesday, I will have one more great Cinco de Mayo recipe for you. Take care and be well everyone, see you Wednesday! xo Kelly
Cóctel de Camarónes
Poaching the shrimp for this recipe keeps them moist and bouncy; the sauce is spicy and sweet, a perfect cocktail sauce with Mexican flavors.
- 1 Medium White Onion, half of it diced, half of it chopped into large chunks
- 6 Large Cloves Garlic, minced
- 4 tbsp. Kosher Salt (or 2 tbsp. table salt), plus more to taste
- 1 lb. 16/20 Shrimp (16-20 count), peeled and rinsed
- 3/4 cup Ketchup
- 3/4 cup Clam Juice
- 2 tbsp. Lime Juice
- Mexican Hot Sauce, to taste
- 1 Small Jicama, peeled and diced (about 1.5 cups)
- 1/2 Large English cucumber, diced (about 1 cup)
- 1 Fresh Jalapeño, diced fine (optional)
- 2 Medium Avocados, peeled, pitted and diced
- 1 cup chopped Cilantro leaves and stems, loosely packed
- Fresh Cracked Black Pepper, to taste
- Lime wedges, for serving
- Cilantro sprigs, for serving
Peel and rinse the shrimp, devein them if you like, but it's unnecessary.
Fill a medium-sized saucepan 3/4 full with water and add the salt, onion chunks and garlic, bring to a boil.
Add the shrimp and turn off the heat, cover and let shrimp poach for 1-2 minutes, until they are pink and opaque.
Transfer shrimp to a colander and rinse with cold water. Place a few hand fulls of ice on the shrimp and let them cool.
Discard poaching liquid, onions and garlic.
Combine the ketchup, clam juice and hot sauce, stir until smooth and add the lime juice. Stir until smooth. Taste it and add more hot sauce, if you like.
Add the cucumber, jicama, jalapeño, diced onion, cilantro and shrimp to a large mixing bowl. Add the sauce and toss to fully coat the ingredients in the sauce. Taste for seasoning and make adjustments if desired.
Then add the avocado and gently fold in the avocado to combine and coat it in the sauce.
Serve with lime wedges, more cilantro leaves and chips.