Campechana, Mexican Shrimp Cocktail

This South of the Border cocktail, with it’s “usual suspect” lineup of fresh and spicy Southwestern ingredients, results in an intoxicating dish. It’s similar to ceviche, however, the seafood is cooked, not brined. We loved it, and it’ll have a permanent spot in my recipe database.

This was part of our Cinco de Mayo dinner last weekend, which actually took place on Sunday since we were sipping Mint Juleps and BBQ’ing chicken on Saturday for the Kentucky Derby

I subscribe to  Tony’s Market “Weekend Recipes”, an email series which features recipe suggestions, just in time for the weekend. Last week, Chef Mick suggested I serve Campechana, or Mexican Shrimp Cocktail. I just knew out of all the thousands of subscribers, he was surely talking to me personally, so it landed on promptly on the menu plan.

What I liked about this was the method for boiling shrimp. A little different from my usual procedure, it read; once the water is boiling, add shrimp and remove from heat. Let stand for three minutes. Immediately cool. I iced them down once that three minute timer sounded, and it worked like a charm.

This recipe made enough for at least six people, so needless to say, with just the two of us, we had a lot left over. Surprisingly it was just as good the next day. With just a couple of discolored spots on the chopped avocado, we were enjoying it for dinner the next night.

We had the Campechana for our main course, but served in martini glasses, this would be a festive and impressive appetizer for a party.

Let’s take a look.

5.0 from 2 reviews
Campechana, Mexican Shrimp Cocktail
Recipe type: Appetizer
  • 1-pound Wild Shrimp
  • 2 TBS Zatarain’s Shrimp & Crab Boil seasoning, or salt (I used Old Bay)
  • ½ cup sweet or white onion, minced
  • ¼ cup lime juice
  • ⅛ tsp kosher salt
  • 1 medium tomato, finely chopped
  • ¼ medium cucumber, minced
  • 1 stalk celery, minced
  • ¼ bell pepper, minced
  • ¼ jalapeno, minced
  • 2 cups Clamato, Tomato juice or V8 (I used tomato juice)
  • dashes of hot sauce, to taste (I used lots)
  • ¼ bunch fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 avocado, small cubes
  • ½ avocado, sliced into wedges
  • chile powder & black pepper (I used Ancho Chile Powder)
  1. Peel shrimp and bring 2 quarts of water to a boil. Add 2 TBS shrimp & crab boil (or 1 TBS salt) to water, add shrimp and bring back to a boil. Remove from heat and rest for about 3 minutes – drain and chill shrimp. Chop or slice all but 4-8 of the shrimp, which are reserved as a garnish.
  2. In a glass bowl, combine onions, lime juice and salt, stir and rest for 15-20 minutes as you chop the remaining ingredients.
  3. Add the minced tomato, cucumber, celery, bell pepper, jalapeno, tomato juice, chopped or sliced shrimp and several dashes of hot sauce – cover and chill for 1-2 hours.
  4. Just before serving, stir in cilantro and avocado. Spoon into four margarita glasses and place a lime wedge on the rim. Decoratively place an avocado slice and reserved whole shrimp on top as a garnish and sprinkle with chile powder and freshly cracked black pepper. Serve with saltines or tortilla chips and hot sauce on the side.

 Mexican Shrimp Cocktail…It’s What’s for Dinner.

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  1. says

    You know how I adore Mexican ceviche . . . this will be on my menu SOON. That Chef Mick is a genius! :-) I’ve pinned that gorgeous shot, too. Yum!

    • Lea Ann says

      Thanks for the pin Vickie! I wasn’t all that thrilled with the photo. I took a billion pictures of this thing and just couldn’t seem to get it just right. I knew you’d like this recipe. I think the last time I had ceviche was with you!

  2. says

    This looks and sounds outstanding Lea Ann and I believe the shrimp boiling method is the ticket, and it’s fool proof, like the similar egg boiling method.

  3. says

    I love your picture! I know what it is like to take lots of pictures and not like any of them :) I also love shrimp cocktail … after having it once in a Mexican restaurant, I started making it at home. Since my hubby doesn’t eat shellfish, this one is all for me! I’ve never added cucumber though, but it sounds so good!

    • Lea Ann says

      I don’t think I’ve ever had it in a restaurant. I’ll sure be keeping an eye out here after.

  4. says

    Your recipe sounds wonderful, Lee Ann, Spicy and with the lime, lots of zing. We all have our tricks with shrimp…I’ll try yours the next time; you have to be so careful not to overcook and with this method, that’s not an issue. Usually I roast them via Ina Garten.
    Don’t you love those dipping chips?

    • Lea Ann says

      It’s always a guessing game with Shrimp isn’t it. I’ll have to take a look at Ina’s version.

  5. dan says

    Looks excellent. I liked all of the ingredients, Loved the “I used lots” on the hot sauce line. Nice job.

    • Lea Ann says

      You are too kind! Thanks for the recipe Mick, it’s been put in my database under the category “find of the century”. :)

  6. says

    Mmm, I love mexican shrimp cocktails and just realized that I haven’t blogged my version yet, so I’ll have to do that. Yum!

  7. says

    There’s a favorite Mexican restaurant of ours that serves a similar recipe that I love! I’m so happy to have a recipe for this. It’s perfect for summer!

    • Lea Ann says

      I’ve never had this in a Mexican Restaurant before, but most certainly will be looking for it now. I’d love to try someone else’s version.

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