My parents called me this morning while on their way to the port; where the big ship would be taking them on a cruise; far away, to lands tropical, vibrant, and warm.
I wished them a safe and happy trip, reporting back that it would be a balmy 35 degrees here today, and not expected to get out of the twenties tomorrow (for the high!).
Boy, would I like to pack my bags and head to the ship with them. The thought of warm sand between my toes and an ocean breeze sounds really perfect right now. Raising my flag for a cocktail? Yep, I’m dreaming all right.
I’m not going anywhere…the kids are in school=no vacation until they are on vacation= spring break. I am here for the duration, so I may as well make the best of it.
One way I like to brighten these cold winter sky days is to incorporate warm, vibrant flavors into my cooking. I can imagine I am in a place that is tropical and lush, even if it is 28 outside.
About this time each year, I start to make things like this, my Peruvian style shrimp cocktail. It’s light, citrusy, and bright.
We are in the middle of comfort food season, I know. But sometimes it’s nice to have a little break; something to cleanse the palate a bit before we trudge on through the rest of winter.
This cocktail makes an excellent start to a menu that will be followed by a heartier course, like pan-seared steak.
I add aji amarillo chiles to the dressing, which slow and steady heat to the cocktail; not to mention a warm sunny glow. You will find these chiles in Latin markets, or online at LaTienda, a fantastic resource for Spanish and Latin American foods.
If you too are looking for a little winter escape, give this shrimp cocktail a try. It’s wonderful now, or into the warmer months of spring and summer.
Peruvian Style Shrimp Cocktail Recipe
18 large shrimp (16-20 count), peeled and deveined
1 tablespoon Old Bay seasoning
1/2 cup diced celery
1/4 cup mayonaise
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons aji amarillo paste
1 tablespoon minced fresh peeled ginger root
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 Haas avocado, peeled, pitted, chopped
1/3 cup thinly sliced red onion
Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Line a large plate with paper towels. Stir the Old Bay seasoning into the boiling water. Add the shrimp and boil until they just turn pink, about 2 minutes. Drain shrimp in a colander and then transfer to paper towels to remove excess water. Cut shrimp into 1-inch pieces.(The shrimp may be refrigerated in airtight container for up to 24 hours.)
Combine the celery, mayonnaise, lime juice, aji amarillo paste, ginger, cilantro, and salt in a medium bowl; whisking thoroughly. Refrigerate mixture until cold, about 20 minutes.
Add shrimp to bowl with dressing and mix well to combine. Divide mixture among serving bowls (I used martini glasses). Top with avocado, red onion slices, and cilantro.