When the weather is near perfect, the weekend is wide open and the sun dances on the water, Eddie's shrimp dip is on the menu. For us, it's a breezy state of mind - just like those inviting Corona ads - and it's our happy place.
I tasted the dip for the first time upon meeting Eddie's extended family, all 50+ of them, in his grandmother's backyard more than 10 years ago. I was an intimidated oustsider, but took comfort in this refreshing, delicious dip that really is more of a meal. As I slurped it up, I watched Eddie's cousins methodically craft perfect bites of shrimp, onion and tomato, piled high on a saltine cracker, and fought for the table's bottle of hot sauce.
This dip is more than just a dip; it's a family tradition that has graced every Salcedo gathering I've been to since. It's been there for the highlights and the lowlights, and everything in between.
This is hardly a recipe, because everyone has their own version with varying degrees of spice and citrus; quantities listed below are simply suggestions. Take it slow, taste as you go and find your perfect shrimp dip.
Eddie's Shrimp Dip
1 pound cooked medium sized shrimp, cleaned, deveined with tails off
1 medium (or 1/2 a large) sweet yellow onion, diced
2 large tomatoes, diced
2 tablespoons chopped (or minced) cilantro, depending your cilantro tolerance
1 very small garlic clove, finely minced
2 lemons, juiced
1 lime, juiced
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup jarred cocktail sauce
1/4 cup ketchup
hot sauce, such as Cholula - as many dashes as you can stand
fresh avocado slices and lemon wedges for garnish
crackers and chips for serving
Combine all ingredients into a very large bowl, and stir. Let chill in refrigerator at least 30 minutes (overnight is best). Prior to serving, taste for spices and garnish with sliced avocado and lemon wedges. Serve with saltine crackers or my favorite corn chips and a spoon. The dip is so hearty that crackers and chips usually snap. You really need a spoon to do the job.
Plus, we are firm believers: no dip left behind.
PS: My Little Shrimp took her first [salt water] dip on Sunday. Picture perfect day at the beach.