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Friday, January 12, 2007

You say Ceviche, I say Seviche

We had some fantastic shrimp and scallop seviche on New Year's Eve. It was so good that I had to have that taste again. So I decided to try a simple shrimp seviche for a snack one recent evening.

Seviche is a relish made of seafood, often raw, mixed with acidic fresh ingredients. Seviches can be simple or complex, incorporating ingredients like sour oranges or pineapple. Many recipes use raw fish that is "cooked" by marinating in lime juice. Using raw fish makes the dish a little more difficult to make at home because you really need to trust in the freshness of the fish. If you use shrimp, the shrimp are usually first poached in water. That makes everything a little easier.

I used a very basic recipe from Rick Bayless' Mexican Kitchen. It is basically a fresh tomato salsa mixed with gently poached shrimp that has been marinated in lots of lime juice. Really good ripe tomatoes are important for the dish, so pay the premium for the good ones, if you can. For a first try, I was very pleased with my seviche. I will definitely make it again. Mine was served with tortilla chips, but the version we had on New Year's Eve came with saltines. Chips are definitely better.

I have always seen this dish spelled "Ceviche" on menus, but Mr. Bayless spells it Seviche in his book so I am keeping it that way for the recipe.

Shrimp Seviche (Seviche de Camaron) adapted from Mexican Kitchen, Rick Bayless

1 lime halved
1 lb. med-large shrimp, unpeeled
1 small red onion
1/3 c plus 2T fresh lime juice
1 T cider vinegar
1 t. chopped fresh thyme or 1/4 t dried
1/2 t oregano
2-3 fresh serrano chile, finely chopped
2 med-lrg. ripe round tomatoes
3 T. fresh chopped cilantro
1 lrg. avocado, peeled, pitted and diced
lettuce leaves for serving bowl (optional)
Squeeze the juice from two lime halves in med. size sauce pan, then add the squeezed rinds and 1 quart water. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes.

Poach the shrimp in the lime water, until just done. Spread them on a plate and allow to cool.

Peel the shrimp, then devein, cut the shrimp into 1/4-inch bits.

Mix the shrimp with the onion, lime juice, vinegar, thyme, oregano and chiles in a med. bowl. Cover and let stand at room temp. up to 1 hour. (*I prefer to let it sit in the fridge. I like the seviche with a bit of a chill on it)

Just before serving, stir in tomato, cilantro and avocado, then season with salt, about 1 teaspoon, (if using a full pound of shrimp). Line a decorative bowl with lettuce leaves, give the seviche another toss, then scoop the mixture into the bowl.

Note: This recipe is just a guide. I used only 1/2 lb shrimp and adjusted from there. Really, everything here can be adjusted to taste, just make sure there is enough lime juice to cover the shrimp while it marinates. I left out the oregano and thyme. We didn't miss them.


Lisa said...

Oh, I adore ceviche! I used to have such good stuff back home in California, but that's more than 20 years ago now...I had a friend here in Champaign who made it for us a couple of times, though, and his was fantastic. He learned the recipe from his aunt in Ecuador. He typed that recipe up for me; I must make it sometime. Bayless' version looks great too.

It's funny; I almost made ceviche on New Year's Eve. But then I did shrimp in a garlic and paprika sauce instead.

MizEllie said...

Came across your blog using the "next blog" button and boy did this look yummy! Thanks for posting the recipe. Cheers.

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