Summer Eats: Shrimp Cocktail Gazpacho

Oh, the summer eats.  Sure, thanks to imported melons and hothouse tomatoes, you can pretend it’s summertime all year round, but let’s be real: some foods need to be made in season.  (Yes, I’ve become a tomato snob, picking out limp pink specimens from restaurant salads.  Blame the backyard garden.)

I have a whole collection of recipes that are strictly for summertime only.  Here’s one of them:

This is probably the best thing to do with those frozen rings of shrimp cocktail you can find in supermarkets.  Yes, yes — those weird perversions of Christmas wreaths that come with the little plastic tub of cocktail sauce.  Stop wrinkling your nose at the computer screen.  Have the trust, people — this is full of all sorts of goodies like avocados and lime juice, and you don’t even have to turn on the stove.  (The broiler does come on if you want to make your own parmesan crostini for serving on the side.  Otherwise, just purchase those, too.  You’ll need ’em for scooping all the treats out of your bowl.)

Shrimp Cocktail Gazpacho

Ingredients:

  • One of those Christmas wreath perversions (as mentioned above)
  • 1/2 cup tomato juice
  • 2-3 fresh tomatoes, diced (feel free to substitute cherry tomatoes if that’s what you have)
  • Ripe avcoado, chopped
  • jalapeno pepper, seeds and ribs removed and then minced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • Fresh lime juice (juice of 1 lime)
  • 1/2 red onion, chopped (totally optional.  I really dislike raw onion, so I never put it in.  But perhaps you’re more sophisticated and world-wise than me, and can stand it)
  • Extra cocktail sauce, if you happen to have some lying around
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Thaw the shrimp by setting it in a bowl of room-temperature water.  Drain it when the shrimp is soft enough to eat.  Refrigerate the shrimp until ready to serve.

Meanwhile, put the tub of cocktail sauce that came with the shrimp in a small bowl.  Add tomato juice, tomatoes, avocado, jalapeno, garlic, lime juice, red onion (really?  Bleh), and stir.  Taste it, then add extra cocktail sauce, tomato juice, salt and pepper to get the flavor combination you want.  I like my gazpacho on the tart side.

Dish up bowls of this heavenly stuff and serve with shrimp and dipping carbohydrate of your choice.

Parmesan Crostini

Ingredients:

  • One baguette.  Go for one that’s more firm than fluffy.
  • 1-2 garlic cloves, halved
  • olive oil, for brushing
  • freshly grated Parmesan (do NOT use the stuff from a can, it won’t melt properly.   But you’re probably a brilliant foodie who’s already munching down on the raw red onion and didn’t need to be told that)

Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and preheat your broiler.  Slice the baguette diagonally into 1/2″ slices.  Brush one side of the bread slices with olive oil and place them on the baking sheet.  Broil — keeping a close eye on them so they don’t burn — until nicely toasted.

Remove the bread slices from the broiler and carefully flip them over.  Rub cut edges of garlic cloves on the untoasted sides of the bread.  Sprinkle with Parmesan and return to the broiler — once again keeping a close eye on it — until cheese is golden and bubbling.  Let cool slightly before barking at your eight-year-old for swiping pieces when you’re not looking.

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