Childhood Memories at Pappaw’s Beach House
Growing up on the Texas Gulf coast, shrimp, crab, and all manner of seafood are plentiful. One of the many Mexican-style dishes enjoyed by all who live on the Gulf of Mexico is Shrimp and Crab Campechana. It is simply a dressed-up seafood cocktail that features shellfish, as I’ve done here, or you can add cooked fish, octopus, scallops, or just about anything edible from the sea.
While I use frozen seafood here, it is preferable to use fresh shrimp and crab in the recipe, and I exclusively do in the summertime. The dish is very savory and addictive. For me, it preserves the taste of summer in the wintertime since I often use frozen pre-cooked ice shrimp. As I write this, I can see myself at a warm beachside outdoor bar with an ice-cold beer about to dive into a parfait of jumbo lump crab meat and shrimp.
Let your imagination run wild. If you have a source for cooked octopus, scallops, squid, oysters, mussels, clams, or geoducks, go ahead and chop them up and add them to the party.
I like to serve Gulf Coast Campechana with crackers or tortilla chips in a chilled parfait dish. It also makes a great seafood cocktail dip; keep it cold over ice if you serve it this way.
Beverage Pairings: Buckets of ice-cold longneck beers such as; Corona, Dos Equis Amber, Shiner Bock
Wine Pairings: Dry Reising or Gewurztraminer
Gulf Coast Campechana
- ¼ cup olives, green, sliced
- ¼ cup onion, white, peeled, and minced
- ¼ cup parsley, chopped fine
- ¼ cup cilantro, chopped fine
- 1 tbsp oregano, fresh chopped
- ¼ cup tomato, seeded and diced
- ½ cup hearts of palm, sliced (optional)
- 2 whole Hatch (Sandia) chilies, roasted, peeled (substitute jalapeno or serrano)
- 2 large cloves of garlic, smashed and minced
- 1 whole avocado, peeled, pitted, and diced
Liquid Ingredients and Seasonings
- ¼ cup avocado oil (substitute any neutral-flavored oil of your choice)
- ¼ cup lime juice
- ¼ cup lemon juice
- ⅓ cup ketchup preferably, Heinz Organic
- ¼ cup chili sauce, Heinz is fine
- ¼ cup Clamato tomato juice (Clamato is four parts tomato juice 1 part clam juice if it is not available in your area)
- 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tsp Tabasco-style hot sauce
- 2 pinch of salt
- 2 pinch of coarse grind black pepper
- ½ pound ice shrimp, cooked (Any cooked shrimp can be substituted, chop them into bite-sized pieces.)
- ½ pound lump crab meat, cleaned and picked over
Prepare the Base
- Prep the first nine ingredients and place them into a medium or large mixing bowl. Next, add all the liquid ingredients along with the salt and pepper. Reserve
When Ready to Serve
- Add the avocado oil to the mix and prep the fresh diced avocado. Dice the avocado, then add to the mixture along with the lemon and lime juice.
- Finally, add the shrimp and crab. Gently mix to combine.
- Serve in individual portions in a chilled parfait dish. Alternatively, serve as a savory cold dip with crackers or tortilla chips.