Campechana

29 Aug

What's better than shrimp or crab? Shrimp and crab.

This meal was made on South Padre Island, Texas! I was on an end of the summer family vacation, and so I had to make something with local seafood while I was down there, so shrimp and crab campechana was the best choice. Also, my mom has a big garden and I brought some of her home-grown produce, and that made the campechana even better. It is the perfect delicious summer beach meal.

For those of you who don’t know, campechana is a combination of pico de gallo, shellfish and avocado that is a lot like ceviche.  It is delicious, and the next time you have enough money to buy a bunch of crabmeat and shrimp (which does not happen for me very often) you should make it. Therefore, I’ll go ahead and tell you how.

Stuff

Home grown vegetables look cooler.

1 1/2 lb. shrimp

1/2 lb. lump crabmeat

3 avocados

3 tomatoes (or 8-10 small homegrown tomatoes)

1 large red onion

5 jalapeños

1/2 a bunch of cilantro

6 cloves garlic, plus one head

2 limes

one small yellow onion

1 t. cumin seeds

2 T. mayo

salt

pepper

Steps

The water boiled up like this, and ended up boiling out of the pot, onto the stove, and requiring a massive cleaning.

Take a pretty big pot, put in a couple quarts of water and set it on a burner to boil. While you’re waiting on water to boil, take all of the pico ingredients listed above (tomato, red onion, 4/5 jalapeños, 6 cloves garlic, 1 lime, 1 t. salt, 1 t. pepper, and 1 t. cumin seeds) and make pico de gallo. I didn’t pull all the seeds out of the tomatoes in this pico, but I was using those delicious little homegrown ones and did not want to waste any of them. I did, however, make sure to seed all of the peppers, because these homegrown jalapeños I used are HOT. At some point while you’re chopping things, the water on the stove will boil. When it does, throw in 2 tablespoons of salt, a head of garlic with the top cut off, a jalapeño sliced in half, an onion cut into quarters, and some cracked black pepper and let it keep boiling until it’s at a screaming rolling boil. I say screaming because shrimp taste funny if they poach instead of boil, so you want your water to be hot enough that it gets back to a boil quickly when you add shrimp.

Boiled shrimp. You should probably go ahead and eat a couple to make sure they're good.

Throw the shrimp in the pot, and once it comes back up to a boil let them cook for 3 minutes. Pull them and throw them into a colander full of ice to stop the cooking, and then go back to making your pico. Once you’ve made the pico, it’s time to peel and de-vein the shrimp.

A word about de-veining: it really, really does not matter. Some people are convinced that the little vein in shrimp that is full of mud and “such” is disgusting, but most of those people won’t eat seafood anyways, so whatever. If you must de-vein, my word of advice is to use a small knife. I never use small knives for anything, but you kind of need to feel the point of the blade along the top of a shrimp here, and so you’re going to need a knife small enough to handle with one hand while you do that. You know what, I’m done trying to explain this process, look at the picture:Once you’ve peeled your shrimp, throw them into the bucket with the pico. Sadly, I didn’t have any serving buckets, so I just used a pyrex dish. Once the shrimp and the pico are hanging out together, add the lump crab meat, lime juice, cumin seeds, about a teaspoon of salt, pepper and mayo, mix well, and let it sit for 5-10 minutes. I don’t know why, but that mayonnaise is completely necessary to get everything to marry together properly. Once you’ve mixed everything up you can let it sit for awhile (even in the fridge for a couple hours if you’re not ready to eat it just yet). When you are ready to serve is when to add the avocado, as brown avocado is not as good as not brown avocado. I have some cool pictures of how to cut avocados up into little pieces, but I’ll save those for those of you who repost. Serve this stuff with chips, and you’ll have an appetizer that’s really a meal. If you have leftovers, you can do some pretty cool stuff with them (salads, omelets, sandwiches). Yum.

Beach-front seafood bliss.

Let’s Eat!

–N

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