Mexican Lime Prawn Cocktail

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  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons lime juice, divided
  • 1 pound peeled and deveined small prawns
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 jalapeño, minced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 1 avocado, thinly sliced
  • Tortilla chips, for serving


Bring 1 quart salted water to a boil; add 2 tablespoons lime juice. Add prawns and bring back to a boil. Turn off the heat, pour off liquid and cover with a lid. Let prawns steam for 10 minutes off the heat. Spread out on a plate to cool completely.

Toss prawns with remaining 1/2 cup lime juice, cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Remove prawns from lime juice, reserving a few tablespoons. Combine prawns, onions, cilantro, jalapeño, garlic, cumin, olive oil, salt, pepper and reserved lime juice in a bowl. Transfer to martini glasses or glass bowls and serve with tomatoes, avocado slices and tortilla chips.

Special notes:

Shrimp basics

What’s the difference between prawns and shrimp?
There’s a scientific distinction between the closely related prawns and shrimp (order Decapoda), but the two words are used interchangeably in markets and restaurants.

Where are PCC’s prawns from?
PCC’s prawns are trap-caught off the Florida coast and south to the mid-Atlantic. Alaska spot prawns also are available fresh from late October through January, and frozen at other times.

How do you clean prawns?
If whole, twist off the head, then pull off the legs. Starting at the thick end, remove shells, working down to the tail. Leave the tail on if desired; if not, pinch the end of the tail and pull it gently away from the body. With a paring knife, make a shallow cut along the back to expose the vein. Remove the vein with the knife, then rinse clean.

What is a “butterflied” prawn?
This treatment helps large prawns cook faster and makes a nice presentation. Starting at the thick end, cut along the back almost all the way through the meat. Cook as directed in any recipe.

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