Sunday, September 23, 2012

RECIPE - Shrimp Cocktail Paraíba (Camarão ao Vinagrete)

The small northeastern state of Paraíba (home of Chico César, subject of yesterday's homage on Flavors of Brazil) is a longish narrow strip of land, with a hundred miles or so of Atlantic coastline on its eastern edge, backed by the semi-arid terrain common to Brazil's northeastern interior. Because of this geographical orientation, there are really two cuisines of Paraíba - a seafood-based one along the coast and a dried-meat based one in the hot interior.

This recipe, which obviously has its origins along the coast, makes a wonderful first course, and is a welcome change from the ketchup and horseradish-based shrimp cocktails of yore. Less sweet than the ketchup cocktails, this recipe also lets the flavor of the shrimp shine through, never masking it with the sauce.

In Portuguese, this recipe is called "Shrimp in Vinaigrette". In Brazil, though, vinaigrette doesn't mean the same thing as it does in France, Europe or North America. It's not a salad dressing consisting of olive oil, vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper. Brazilian vinagrete is a refreshing mixture of chopped tomatoes, green peppers and onions marinated for a short time in a diluted vinegar mixture.
RECIPE - Shrimp Cocktail Paraíba (Camarão ao Vinagrete)
Serves 2

For the vinagrete:
1 medium red or white onion, chipped
2 ripe tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1 medium green pepper, seeded and chopped
1 Tbsp cilantro, chopped
1 Tbsp green onion, green part only, chopped
2 Tbsp white wine vinegar
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup water

For the shrimp:
3/4 lb (300 gr) large shrimp, peeled and deveined
juice of 1/2 lime
salt to taste
wedges of lime to garnish
Prepare the vinagrete: in a medium mixing bowl, combine the onion, tomatoes, green pepper, cilantro, and onion. Pour over the vinegar, olive oil and water, then toss all the ingredients in the marinade. Reserve for a minumum of 15 minutes and a maximum of 30 minutes.

Prepare the shrimps: season the shrimps with lime juice and salt. Bring water to a boil in a medium saucepan, then cook the shrimps in the water for about 3 minutes, or until the shrimps are opaque and firm. Drain completely, then add them to the reserved vinagrete. Let cool for about 15 minutes, then serve in small bowls or ramekins, with an added wedge of lime if desired.

Recipe translated and adapted from Cozinha Regional Brasileira by Abril Editora.

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