Fish House Vera Cruz Tomato Cocktail (please read to the bottom. Revised!!)

IMG_1918.jpegThis picture is not a picture of the tomato cocktail I am going to give you the recipe for, but it IS tomatoes–and of course, I have a story.

What do most people do on holidays?  When my kids asked one year what I wanted for Mother’s Day, I said, “Let’s to a taste test!”  I had long been preaching about 6 in 1 tomatoes, as I had discovered them when I asked several of my favorite Italian restaurants what brand of tomatoes they used.  I am well aware of the San Marzano “purity snobs”, where they tell you there is no other possible choice, but everytime I liked a sauce at a restaurant, they told me they used 6 in 1!  I searched for them, found them in Scottsdale at DeFalco’s, and at Restaurant Depot.  But now I just buy them on line  by the case from Escalon Premier Brands.  They are about $3.33 per can, FYI.  ANYWAY, I digress.  I went to several stores and bought brands all the way from Food Club at Fry’s to the $7 per can San Marzano’s at A.J’s.  We did a blind test, using the only person we trust in the family to keep a secret, my husband, Larry, to keep track of the brands and number them.  After 14 of us tasted, 6 in 1 received 13 first place votes.  So, I rest my case.  And now, here is a great recipe I brought back from vacation from our favorite fish restaurant, Fish House Vera Cruz, in San Marcos, Calif.  It’s a cross between Ceviche and shrimp cocktail sauce and Gazpacho:

FISH HOUSE VERA CRUZ TOMATO COCKTAIL (I have adjusted amounts of ingredients to fit normal sizes. )

8 oz. clamato juice

8 oz. ketchup

1 tsp. salt

1 chopped serrano pepper

1 small finely chopped onion

1/2 finely chopped cucumber

1 Tbs. Chalula or other favorite hot sauce

Cilantro to taste (and for garnish)

Juice of one lime

1/2 cup chopped cooked large shrimp (more if you like)

1/2 cup tiny (21/25) cooked shrimp (more if you like)

Mix all together and chill.  Serve with chips–it’s almost like a soup–quite juicy, so it’s really nice served in a martini glass with chips on the side.

Note:  for shellfish allergy people like Larry, this is great with cooked cod or other firm whitefish.


When I printed this recipe yesterday I knew it wasn’t the same as the restaurant gave me 2 years ago.  But since I had lost it, I forged ahead, mind full of doubt, and had uneasy dreams all night……YES, I dream about recipes!    I finally found the old recipe, and rather than change the one above, I am printing the old one (which I prefer).  For one thing, the AVOCADO was left out!  To me, that is a crime punishable by law…..

8 oz. Clamato juice

4 Tbs. ketchup

juice of one lime

Dash of Chalula

Salt and pepper to taste

1 large chopped avocado

3 small dice green onion

1 to 1  1/2 cups chopped  shrimp, scallops, or white fish (cooked)

1 finely chopped tomato

COOK’S NOTE:  People have asked what the difference is between Ceviche and this cocktail.  Basically this is more “soupy”, and not at all spicy….of course you CAN make it spicy if you like.  But now you have TWO great recipes for a fresh summer treat!




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