As the wife of a shrimp fisherman, I get my share of fresh shrimp, so much so that I almost get sick of eating them. You see, when my husband fishes closer to shore, he brings back a bigger variety of fish and seafood. Out where the famous red Denia shrimp are, though, there isn’t a lot else to fish. That’s why he mostly brings back the same type of shrimp day after day.
People would still say that I’m extremely lucky, of course, and I can’t really complain about having access to just-caught, non-farmed seafood, but I am constantly looking for new ways to prepare the shrimp so that I don’t get bored with them. This year I decided to try making ceviche to mix things up a bit, and I have to say that I love it.
Ceviche is a type of seafood dish that is popular in Latin American countries. The first time I tried it was around 20 years ago when I went to visit an aunt of mine who lives in Venezuela. We had a beach day escape to some tiny islands off the coast, and vendors were walking around offering freshly roasted fish and ceviche for sale.
Ceviche is a great meal or appetizer idea for summer as you don’t need to slave over a hot stove to make it, but instead “cook” the seafood in lemon juice. That doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy it now that fall has arrived, though. I actually love making ceviche this time of year because it makes great use of the fresh peppers that I’m harvesting from my garden.
If the idea of eating raw fish or seafood freaks you out, you can always use already lightly cooked shrimp instead. It’s actually probably a good idea to precook your shrimp if you aren’t sure about how fresh it is or where it came from because the citrus isn’t enough to kill off harmful bacteria and parasites. If you are worried about certain parasites in the shrimp, like anisakis, but don’t want to precook them, you can also choose to freeze the shrimp before using it in this recipe. Having access to the freshest of shrimp, though, which come from an anisakis-free area, I usually make it the traditional way. I like to serve it as an appetizer along with some of my homemade paleo tortilla chips, but it’s also great served alone or atop some lettuce greens.
One of the things I love about ceviche is that it is very customizable. If you don’t like or can’t tolerate peppers and onions, you can use other vegetables (or fruits) instead. Cucumbers, tomatoes, and avocado are very popular additions to ceviche. Feel free to experiment with what you have in your fridge to find your favorite mix.
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Easy Shrimp Ceviche Recipe
1 pound peeled and deveined fresh shrimp
½ – ¾ cup lemon juice
½ – ¾ cup lime juice
1 – 2 cups chopped colored sweet peppers (or other vegetables)
½ sweet onion, chopped
Salt, pepper, cayenne to taste
Cilanto for garnishing (optional)
- If you prefer to cook your shrimp before making your ceviche, blanch them in boiling salted water for a minute or two. Drain them and allow them to cool.
- Cut the raw or cooked shrimp into small pieces and add them to a bowl. Cover the shrimp pieces with the lemon and lime juice and place the bowl into the fridge.
- While the shrimp is marinating in the citrus juices, prepare your vegetables by cleaning them and chopping them into small pieces. I usually use a mixture of sweet peppers and sweet onion pieces. While I like onions in ceviche, I have a hard time digesting them raw so I often leave them out. If you like a spicier ceviche, you can also add in some minced spicy peppers or a touch of powdered cayenne.
- Add the chopped vegetables to the bowl in the fridge and mix well until the shrimp and vegetables are well combined.
- Allow the mixture to marinate for at least half an hour. Make sure that the juices have fully “cooked” the ceviche before serving if you are using raw shrimp.
- Add salt and pepper to taste. Ceviche is wonderful garnished with fresh cilantro if you have it on hand. I also like to serve it drizzled with a bit of extra virgin olive oil.
Other Recipe Notes:
Rather than measuring out my vegetables precisely, I do it by eye and try to use equal amounts of shrimp to vegetables. So, if I end up with around 2 cups of chopped shrimp, I usually chop around 2 cups of vegetables for the ceviche. You can adjust that ratio, though, to suit your taste.
If you decide to add in more delicate vegetables/fruits like avocado, it’s best to add them to your mix of veggies right before serving rather than add them at the same time as the peppers and onions.