Thursday, July 30, 2020

Celebrating National Avocado Day...Featuring Zesty Tex-Mex Shrimp Cocktail #NationalAvocadoDay #avocado #shrimp #texmex #summerappetizer

The avocado is a food without rival among the fruits, the veritable fruit of paradise --
David Fairchild, early 20th Century adventurer and Department of Agriculture botanist
Tomorrow is National Avocado Day! Avocados are one of my favorite foods...because there's so much to love. Avocados are a creamy, delicious, vitamin-heavy fruit with tons of benefits for your body...inside and out. This year, why not celebrate National Avocado Day by breaking the guacamole barrier? Don't get me wrong...there's nothing I love more than a bowl of guacamole with crunchy tortilla chips. However, versatile avocados can be used in a wide range of recipes! Today, I'm sharing my Zesty Tex-Mex Shrimp Cocktail. It's simple to whip up a batch of this appetizer in no time. Because it's served chilled, it's perfect for keeping cool on hot Summer days. If you've never eaten Mexican-style shrimp cocktail (aka coctel del camarones), it's a bit different from the American-style shrimp cocktail you're probably used to.

Zesty Tex-Mex Shrimp Cocktail is my personal spin on a dish that has a zillion variations. My homemade cocktail sauce is flavored with ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, lime juice, and smoky chipotle hot sauce. In addition to lots of diced ripe avocado, it features chopped boiled shrimp, and chunky pico de gallo. The entire dish comes together in about 15 minutes, then it chills in the fridge until you're ready to serve. Easy peasy! I love to serve this appetizer well chilled in a large margarita glass -- with lots of crispy tortilla chips for dipping. Everyone who tastes this appetizer goes nuts for it!

Zesty Tex-Mex Shrimp Cocktail
Adapted from Southern Living
Ingredients (makes approx. 3 cups):
  • 1 large Hass avocado, peeled and diced
  • 1 lb. shrimp [NOTE: I use 16-20/lb size]
  • 1 cup pico de gallo (from the Produce section)
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 2 tbs. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tbs. chipotle flavored hot sauce 
  • Juice of half of a large lime (or lemon)
  • 1/3 cup reserved shrimp cooking water
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Tortilla chips for serving
Step 1: Boil the shrimp in salted water. Immerse the cooked shrimp in ice water to quick chill and stop the cooking process. Peel and devein the shrimp, reserving the largest, prettiest shrimp for garnish. Chop the remaining shrimp into bite-sized pieces and add to a large bowl. Add the pico de gallo, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, shrimp cooking water, lime juice, and hot sauce. 
Step 2: Stir well to evenly combine all the ingredients. Add the diced avocado to the shrimp mixture and carefully fold into the shrimp mixture. Be gentle so you don't break up the creamy avocado. Finally, add salt and pepper to taste.
Step 3: Carefully spoon the shrimp cocktail into the margarita glass. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until serving time. I try to prepare this appetizer no more than 2 hours before serving to ensure the avocado stays green. Just before serving, use the reserved boiled shrimp and a slice of lemon (or lime) to garnish the rim of the serving glass. Serve with baskets of baked tortilla chips for dipping. 
This easy-to-make appetizer is an amazing combination of flavors and textures. The chunks of creamy avocado and sweet shrimp are perfectly balanced by the zesty cocktail sauce. The finely diced pico de gallo adds plenty of texture and spice. Add it all up, and you've got a winner of a Summer appetizer -- perfect for at-home Happy Hour or Taco Tuesday dinner! We've been known to make a meal out of this that's always an option too!

Do you love cooking with avocados as much as I do? Then you definitely need to check out a few of my other favorite recipes from The Weekend Gourmet archives that feature their creamy goodness! My Seared Scallops with Avocado-Corn SalsaLoaded Tex-Mex Chile con QuesoBaked Kitchen Sink Chicken-Avocado Taquitos, and Tequila-Shrimp Confetti Guacamole are also perfect for Summer noshing. Not only do they taste great...they have great eye appeal too!
Photo provided by National Today
I want to leave you with one last avocado thought: have you wondered what to do with the pits left after you eat an avocado? I've got a great idea for an at-home project! Why not plant them and grow your own houseplant? Simply clean off the huge seed, pierce it with three toothpicks, and submerge the pit right-side up in a glass of water. In about eight weeks, the pit will begin to sprout. When your avocado tree is approximately six inches long, you can plant it in soil. Be sure to keep it on a sunny windowsill in your kitchen, where it will get lots natural light!

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