This is the perfect hot weather lunch, dinner or first course. It’s pretty. It’s served cold. It taste deliciously sweet and tangy. You’ll almost want the heat of summer to consume you, just so you can make shrimp cocktail, the Brazilian way. This isn’t so much the way the Brazilians make shrimp cocktail, because by and large they don’t make shrimp cocktail. But, if they did, this probably how they might do it. Hearts of palm are served everywhere in Brazil. They add a nice texture, and are rather bland so they won’t over-powdering the delicate shrimp and other flavors. Then there’s the orange and lime zest. Brazilian use both fruits with abandon…no wonder I loved living there so much! You can see the mango chunks under the hearts of palm and though not Brazilian at all, I added blueberries for both color and flavor and because I had some in the fridge!
The vinaigrette is simplicity itself. I didn’t want to use oil because I didn’t think it was necessary for this. Sometimes even a wonderfully flavored olive oil can mask or dull delicate flavors. I wanted both the sweetness and tang from the ketchup and orange juice concentrate. The honey is a dark, deep flavored honey that is almost more savory than sweet. The nectar comes from Japanese knotweed and is from apiarists in Tolland, CT. You can purchase the dark honey, which isn’t particularly easy to find, at The Spice Mill. The recipe is for about 1 1/2 cups of dressing. You’ll only need 2-3 tablespoons for the recipe, but it’s a good dressing for a salad, to drizzle over steamed veggies or to use as a marinade.
Brazilian Shrimp Cocktail
- Zest of 1/2 an orange
- Zest of 1/2 a lime
- 2/3 cup diced mango (or mango and pineapple chunks)
- 2 scallions finely minced or 2 tablespoon finely minced chives or garlic scapes
- 1/2 cup hearts of palm, rinsed, drained, and sliced into 1/4-inch-thick half-moons
- 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
- 1/3 cup blueberries or sliced strawberries (optional)
- 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
- 1 pound cooked, deveined shrimp (21-30’s, but you can use any size)
- 2-3 cups baby arugula or baby greens (or baby spinach)
- 1/4 teaspoon Nora or Aleppo pepper flakes
Vinaigrette: Makes about 1 1/3 cup
- 2/3 cup ketchup
- 1/3-1/2 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
- 1/3 cup frozen orange juice concentrate
- 1-2 tablespoons honey (darker preferred)
- 1/2-1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
Combine the salad ingredients except the greens; set aside. This can be done up to 3 hours ahead; cover and chill until serving.
Combine the vinaigrette ingredients in a small bowl. You will only need 2-3 tablespoons for the recipe. Refrigerate and use the rest as a salad dressing or marinade for something else.
When ready to serve, place a small handful (about 1/2 cup) of greens on a plate or in a martini glass. I use less in a martini glass. Toss the vinaigrette and shrimp salad together, just to combine. Top with 1/4-1/3 of the shrimp mixture. Sprinkle with Nora or Aleppo pepper flakes, for garnish, and serve.
NOTE: If you think there may be leftovers, it’s best not to use pineapple chunks or the shrimp may become mushy. You may use orange supremes, halved Bing cherries, papaya chunks, etc for the fruit, just keep it to about 1-1 1/2 cups per pound of shrimp.
Brazilian Shrimp Cocktail Recipe©Marcia Lahens 2015. All rights reserved.
Given the season, I used garlic scapes in this. At other times of the year, I use a combination of minced chives, and chopped scallions, with about 2 finely shredded mint leaves thrown in. You can use basil, lemon verbena, or no herbs at all for this mixture, and it will still be outstanding. The Goddess had an after thought…ginger. Maybe about 1/2 teaspoon of very finely julienned fresh ginger might be nice with this. What do you think? If you choose to use fresh pineapple chunks, the ginger could be very nice. But, only use the fresh pineapple, if the entire salad will be eaten the same day, or the shrimp may get mushy. Pineapple contains the enzyme bromelain, which break down the protein fibers in the shrimp (or any protein, for that matter).
Do use the arugula, if possible. The peppery-ness works so well with this, but you can use baby spinach or a field green mixture, as well. I served this for lunch with half a grilled bleu cheese sandwich with some of the Caramelized Onion and Dried Fruit Jam. It was pretty yummy!