Pati's Mexican Table
(Courtesy Pati Jinich)
Tacos, burritos and enchiladas have become familiar dishes in many U.S. restaurants, leading many Americans to think they know Mexican food well. Those dishes, however, are just the tip of the culinary iceberg. Chef and author Pati Jinich joins us to talk about Mexican home cooking and the global influences that helped shaped Mexican cuisine.
shrimp cocktail pacífico
_ CÓCTEL DE CAMARÓN DEL PACÍFICO _
✹ SERVES 6 ✹ PREPARATION TIME: 15 MINUTES, PLUS MARINATING TIME ✹ COOKING TIME: 5 MINUTES ✹
CAN BE MADE UP TO 12 HOURS AHEAD, COVERED, AND REFRIGERATED ✹
Every time I make this dish, I’m transported back to childhood family vacations on the Mexican Pacifi c Coast. As I spoon it into my mouth, I feel the salty breeze and hear my grandfather shout, “Bandida!”—a recurring comment on how fast I could eat a grown-up serving. If only he could see how fast my kids—true “bandidos”—eat it.
The shrimp are quickly cooked until just tender, then marinated in a tomato, cilantro, chile, and lime marinade, with a handful of salty green olives for balance. Serve with tortilla chips or saltines.
1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 cup ketchup
¾ cup freshly squeezed lime juice
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon Maggi sauce (see page 211) or soy sauce
2 tablespoons olive oil
¼ cup finely chopped white onion
1 jalapeño or serrano chile, halved, seeded if desired, and finely chopped, or to taste
½ cup coarsely chopped pimiento-stuffed olives
½ cup seeded and chopped ripe tomato
2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro leaves
1 teaspoon dried oregano, preferably Mexican, or ¼ teaspoon finely chopped fresh
¼ teaspoon kosher or coarse sea salt, or to taste
1 ripe Hass avocado, halved, pitted, meat scooped out, and cubed
Tortilla chips, store-bought or homemade (page 66), or saltine crackers
1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil over high heat. Add the shrimp and cook for 1 minute. Immediately drain the shrimp, and let cool.
2. In a large bowl, combine the ketchup, lime juice, Worcestershire sauce, Maggi sauce, and olive oil. Add the shrimp and toss to combine. Add the onion, chile, olives, tomato, parsley, cilantro, oregano, and salt and mix gently until well blended. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, or up to 12 hours.
3. When ready to serve, stir the avocado into the shrimp cocktail. Serve with tortilla chips.
✹ MEXICAN COOK’S TRICK: Fresh shrimp are always tastier, but most shrimp is sold frozen or frozen thawed. The good news is that shrimp freezes well and comes out of the thawing process in great shape. However, once thawed, it should be used as soon as possible. Shrimp should look plump and firm and have no “fishy” smell. If you buy them with the shell and tail on, they hold their texture better and you can use the shells to make a lively broth. Thaw frozen shrimp under a stream of cold running water or in the refrigerator—never thaw them with hot water, in the microwave, or at room temperature.