While planning our beer pairing dinner, I knew I wanted to do a seafood first course. First of all, the Allagash White that Joey chose is a nice light beer - a "patio beer" if you will - and I wanted to pair it with a nice light dish to complement it. I also liked the idea of serving a cold first course. I could completely prep it ahead of time; I even portioned it out into serving dishes. When everyone sat down to eat, all I had to do was top with avocado and garnish with tortilla chips and lime wedges.
This was probably my favorite dish of the night. Campechana is kind of a "seafood salsa." The aromatics are sauteed with the shrimp, then simmered in a flavorful tomato sauce made up of Rotel, V8, and ketchup. Horseradish, lemon and lime, and crabmeat are then folded in, and the mixture is refrigerated overnight. Before serving, cilantro, parsley, and avocado are added, and its eaten like salsa: with tortilla chips and lime. its also just as addictive as salsa! Its a very simple dish to put together, but seems impressive. I will definitely be making this again and again this summer!
adapted from The Pastry Queen Parties, by Rebecca Rather
serves 8-10 as a main course, double as an appetizer.
- 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 large yellow onion, coarsely chopped (2 cups)
- 1 green bell pepper, cored, seeded, and chopped
- 1 red, yellow, or orange bell pepper, cored, seeded, and chopped
- 6 medium garlic cloves, minced
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4-1/2 teaspoon cayenne
- 1 1/2 pounds extra large (16/20 count) shrimp, peeled, deveined, tails removed
- 1 (28-ounce) can Rotel tomatoes, undrained
- 1 (12-ounce) bottle V8 juice
- 2/3 cup ketchup
- 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 2 Tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 Tablespoons prepared horseradish
- 1 pound lump crabmeat, picked over
- 4 ripe avocados
- 1 Tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
- 1 Tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
- Lime wedges, for accompaniment
- Tortilla chips, for serving
While the vegetables cook, combine the salt and cayenne in a small bowl. Cut each piece of shrimp into 3 pieces, and add to a large bowl. Toss with the cayenne/salt mixture.
Add the shrimp to the pot and saute over medium-high heat for 2 minutes. Add the V8, Rotel, ketchup, and Worcestershire sauce, and bring to a simmer, about 5 minutes.
Remove from heat and stir in lemon, lime, horseradish, and crab. Refrigerate until cold, preferably overnight.
When ready to serve, peel and pit the avocados and cut into bite-sized chunks. Gently stir in the cilantro and parsley, and ladle the campechana into small bowls or wine glasses. Top each serving with avocado, and serve with lime wedges and tortilla chips.