Ceviche is more of a method than a recipe, in which the acid of lemons and limes is used to “cook” seafood. Like many classic preparations of the world, there are as many ways to make ceviche as there are cooks to prepare it; what is paramount is the choice of the freshest possible seafood or fish for the dish. In this case, we’re featuring shrimp, but any fresh seafood or combination of several will work. Red peppers and onions add color and texture, and cilantro that unmistakable bite. Mucho gusto!
4 servings, or 12 hors d’oeuvres servings
1 pound extra large or jumbo shrimp
1 medium red onion, finely diced
1 red bell pepper, ¼-inch dice
½ cup diced jicama or mango
1 cup freshly squeezed lime juice, strained
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice, strained
½ teaspoon sugar
½ cup chopped cilantro leaves, plus some whole leaves for garnish
Mix the lime juice, lemon juice, sugar, red onions, bell pepper, jicama or mango and cilantro in a large, non-reactive mixing bowl. Clean and devein the shrimp, removing the shells, and place the shrimp in the marinade, then refrigerate. Be sure the shrimp are all submerged in the lime juice. If using whole shrimp, leave in the marinade for about an hour or so, until the shrimp turns opaque and firms up a bit. If you prefer, you may cut the shrimp into smaller pieces. If so, marinade for a shorter period.
[Chef’s Note: As we said above, the general principle of ceviche is using acid to “cook” seafood. The protein will change from translucent to opaque and get firmer. It’s easy to want to err on the side of “cooking” it longer in the marinade, but trust that it will be safe to eat once it firms up and turns opaque, and you will enjoy its tenderness.]
Using a slotted spoon, remove the shrimp and vegetable mixture from the marinade and serve in chilled martini glasses, or for hors d’oeuvres, serve in Chinese soup spoons. Drizzle a little of the marinade over the dish, and garnish with a few cilantro leaves.
Ceviche can be made with scallops, halibut, lobster, whitefish, etc., or a mixture of several. Feel free to experiment, and to try different vegetables or fruits. One popular way to serve ceviche in many Latin American countries is with thinly sliced jalapeño peppers or aji amarillo (yellow chiles).
Recipe by Mark Tafoya
Photo by Deborah Mele