The Austin Chronicle

Mariscos in Austin

Mexican seafood restaurants are a gustatory vacation

April 30, 2010, Food

Typical Mariscos Dishes

Coctel de Camarones (shrimp cocktail): larger and sweeter than you'd expect, made from shrimp, ketchup, shrimp poaching liquid, orange and lime juice, diced onion and tomato, avocado, and cilantro garnish. Variations: diced jicama, Maggi sauce, Worcestershire, Valentina hot sauce, rarely chiles. Eaten with crackers.

Campechana: basically the same as above, but with mixed seafood: oysters, shrimp, fish, octopus, mussels, squid, conch, scallops, etc. Some versions take on a ceviche-like edge. Originally from Campeche. Eaten with crackers.

"Vuelve a la Vida" ("Back to Life" or "Return to Life"): a version of Campechana from Veracruz that is a mix of seafood and usually much spicier than the standard Campechana. This "corpse reviver" ("levanta muertos") is supposed to cure any hangover. Eaten with crackers.

Ceviche: diced seafood "cooked" by the acidity of citrus fruits; seasoned with diced onion, tomato, cilantro, and chiles; and garnished with avocado. Ceviche can also have a ketchup base. Eaten with crackers or tostadas.

Sopa de Mariscos: a rich mixed seafood soup made from seafood stock that is seasoned with garlic, onion, carrot, potato, mild red chiles or paprika, cilantro, lime, and avocado. Expect diced fish, shrimp, crab, octopus, mussels, etc. Also called sopa de siete mares ("soup of the seven seas"). There are also very spicy versions seasoned with piquant chiles.

Pescado: Fish, either cooked whole or filleted, which can be prepared a number of ways:

Mexicana: a basic sauce of onion, garlic, tomatoes, chiles, lime, and cilantro

Enchipotlado: a chipotle chile sauce

Veracruzano: a sauce of olive oil, garlic, onion, tomatoes, capers, green olives, pickled yellow peppers and jalapeño peppers, cilantro, oregano, and bay leaf

Mojo de ajo: a butter and garlic sauce with lime and cilantro, topped with minced fried garlic

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