Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Shrimp Acapulco and Naughty Sunbathing

The title is just a mean trick to see if you're here about the food, or something else entirely. But, it is true, the day I made this, there was some naughty sunbathing involved--NO SUNSCREEN. I know; but my friend, Nina, came down for a girl's weekend visit and gorging ourselves on this fabulous shrimp concoction and being high out of our minds on too many corn chips and some good old fashioned peer pressure led to our naughtiness. After all, girls will be girls.

But, don't be like me and Nina--wear your sunscreen--it's important. However, don't worry about eating too many corn chips, because this Shrimp Acapulco is definitely worth it and a corn chip is the best vehicle to scoop up big tasty mouthfuls.

I had to come up with this dish, which is very similar to one I had in a restaurant many years ago and fell in love with. It's like a Mexican shrimp cocktail, but kicked up a few notches. We discovered this dish and then set off on 'copying' it after dining in a restaurant that for years had been right under our noses, but that we had never known about. It was hidden away in an office complex, far off the beaten track. The first night that we ever pulled up. we almost drove away; we couldn't make up our minds about wether it would be worth it, or if like usual, we would be tricked into thinking it was a good restaurant and then after being separated from our money, realized how much better we could have done if we would have just stayed home an cooked for ourselves.
But we did go in and it wasn't just fabulous, it was phenomenal. It was that night that I fell head-over-heels in love with Merced. I know; if you read my posts, you've come to understand that both Ken and myself have a tendency to fall in love with people who make our taste buds sing. Probably not something that would work in every marriage, but it works for us. Although, when I suggested we ask Merced to move in, Ken was a lot less accepting. Before I get to this recipe, let me just say that some of the most amazing culinary sensations that ever went down my gullet came from this man's kitchen. Let me also say that I have eaten in many a celebrated and famous restaurant and even a Michelin Three Star restaurant in Italy. And, let me also say, there's not a meal among them that I regret or don't think about still. Merced, though, he was never formally trained, worked his way up from line cook, and had the most exquisite way of layering flavors and textures. It was truly amazing and yes, I do miss him since I moved north.
Now, onto the recipe:

Shrimp Acapulco

2 lb Fresh Shrimp; steamed (in shells; cool, then peel)
2 Avocados (not overly ripe)
1 Red Onion
2 Hot House Cucumbers
5 Fresh Jalapeno peppers
1 Bunch Cilantro
2-3 Limes
1 Cup Ripe Cherry Tomatoes

Clamato Juice
Rice Wine Vinegar
Louisiane Hot Sauce

1. Chop shrimp into coarse pieces about half the size of your thumb and put into a big bowl.
2. Peel cucumbers and chop into bite-sized pieces; dump in bowl with shrimp.
3. Finely mince red onion and jalapenos and put in bowl with shrimp.
4. Half avocados and remove pit; slice in peel and then slice crosswise until you have bite-sized pieces; using a spoon, gently scoop into shrimp bowl.
5. Cut cherry tomatoes into quarters and put in bowl with shrimp.
6. Add 2 T. of Rice Wine Vinegar and gently fold ingredients together.
7. Add 2 cups of Clamato juice and one cup of ketchup.
8. Halve and juice the limes; I usually use about 1/2 cup of lime juice, but you should add to your own taste.
9. Add hot sauce to taste. I like Louisiane hot sauce instead of Tabasco because Tabasco has a very distinct taste that can overshadow the flavors and make it taste more like a cocktail sauce, but that's a personal choice. Season with enough hot sauce to your taste.
10. Wash the cilantro, cut off the stems and finely chop; add to the mixture.

Let this set for about 4 hours in the refrigerator and then let sit about 15 minutes at room temperature before serving. Serve with plenty of corn chips. cold beer, or good wine.

Enjoy. Bathing suit not required.

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