I almost entered this in the Recipe I Want To Be Remembered For contest, but I figured that octopus was too daring. Someone at Food 52 must be psychic, because the very next contest gives me the chance to share this delicious creation with you. I had never heard of campechana when I first ate it at La Laguna in Lake Chelan, Washington. Our server spoke very little English, all I knew when I ordered it was that it contained octopus, which I love. The flavor was haunting, exquisite. After a lot of experimenting in my own kitchen I managed to recreate it as I remembered the flavors and textures. I hope you love this dish as much as I do! —Abra Bennett
4 as a starter, 2 as a main
baby octopus, 1-2 lbs, fresh is best but frozen is okay
rock shrimp, or small regular shrimp, shelled
fresh lime juice
1 1/4 teaspoons
Yucatan Sunshine hot sauce, or 2 teaspoons Cholula or Tapatio sauce
red onion, finely diced
ripe tomato, diced
ripe avocado, diced
In This Recipe
Prepare octopus by cutting tentacles into very small pieces. You can also cut up the body of the octopus, if you wish. Place V8 and Clamato in a saucepan, bring to a boil, add octopus. Cover and boil very gently for 1 hour.
Meanwhile, cut scallops into quarters, and shell shrimp, if you're not using rock shrimp. When octopus is very tender, stir in shrimp and scallops and simmer for just 2-3 minutes, until they are barely opaque. Remove pan from heat.
Stir in lime juice, hot sauce, catsup, onion, and tomato. Add a little additional Clamato if you like. There should be enough liquid to barely float the seafood - this is a cocktail, not a soup. Let cool to room temperature. Stir in cilantro and avocado just before serving. If you have Mexican margarita glasses, it's beautiful to serve the campechana in them.