One of my most favorite seafood appetizers is the Goode Seafood Company's campechana which I first tasted in Houston, Texas at the original location on West Park Dr. and Southwest Freeway. This campechana is still by far the best version I've had to date. What makes campechana so special is it comes from Campeche, a coastal state in Mexico, which is known for its seafood dishes, especially the shrimp cocktails offered beachside, and their popularity extends all the way up the coast in Mexico. Jim Goode (founder of Goode Company) created his own version of campechana on the menu when he opened the original location of Goode Company Seafood in 1986. Levi Goode, chef and owner of the Goode Company restaurant group has continued the tradition, never changing the recipe, and the appetizer remains the most popular item at the restaurant today.
I was given the Goode Seafood Company's campechana recipe from one of my neighbors who also loves Goode Seafood Company's campechana. I made the recipe several times and refined it to more my preferences which has a smokier and less sweet taste. And now I am ready to share this amazing Mexican seafood cocktail. When I make it, I add fish that Jim and I have caught in the gulf such as redfish but a fish similar will do the trick too.
Before making the "best yet" campechana, you will need to prepare the following:
Make the chili sauce and set aside.
Prepare the campechana sauce and add the chili sauce and set aside.
1/2 pound boiled & peeled shrimp
1 pound Redfish, chopped in bite-sized pieces and in lime juice. Needs to be totally opaque (cooked) before preparing for the seafood mix. Note: I put my fish in a large gallon-sized Ziploc bag and then cover the fish in the lime juice. This way it is easy to gently squeeze the lime juice out of the bag before you mix the fish in the campechana.
Chili Sauce (my version which is not as sweet)
1/2 cup of your favorite red salsa (recommend a chunky roasted style)
1/4 cup of tomato paste (I use the Mutti Tomato Paste in a tube --- it's great because you do not have to open a whole can then figure out what to do with the rest)
1 teaspoon Ancho chili pepper (ground)
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 tsp brown sugar (a little more if you want it a bit sweeter)
Mix all ingredients in a small bowl and set aside. Try to make this ahead to allow the flavors to become friendly with each other.
1/4 cup green olives, chopped
1 tablespoon olive juice
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1/2 cup chili sauce (one you just made)
1 tablespoon fresh oregano
1/4 cup parsley, chopped
1 teaspoon chopped serrano or jalapeño pepper
1/4 cup lime juice
1 cup Clamato juice (two 5.5 oz. cans)
1 tablespoons roasted cumin seed
Mix all ingredients in a bowl and set aside.
Pico de Gallo
3/4 cup Roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
1/2 cup sweet white onion, diced
1 tsp garlic, minced
1/2 c. cilantro, chopped
1/2 tsp kosher salt
Make the Pico de Gallo and then combine with sauce mixture. When you are ready to serve then proceed to do the following.
1 avocado, peeled and diced
1/2 cup Hatch or New Mexican chiles, roasted, peeled & diced (aka Anaheim chiles)
1/2 pound boiled & peeled shrimp
1 pound of lime juice "cooked" redfish (gently squeeze out the lime juice before mixing)
16 ounces of lump crabmeat (jumbo pieces)
Delicately fold in the seafood mix so as not to break up the crab pieces. Garnish each with finely chopped fresh jalapenos on the side.
Serve immediately with tortilla chips or toasted baguette bread (see following).
Toasted Baguette Bread
Pre-heat oven at 400 degrees
Slice fresh baguette loaf
Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil and place sliced bread
Brush with olive oil and lightly sprinkle with sea salt and cracked pepper
Place the cookie sheet with the bread slices in oven for about 8-10 minutes or toasted.