I have very fond memories of the first time I tried ceviche. San Pedro, Belize, May 2010. I was eating lunch with Matt after doing some exploring of the town in a rented golf cart (which was awesome, by the way – both the town and driving a golf cart). We got lunch in this little seafood shack right on the beach with beautiful views. Matt was actually the one to order it, but never fear, I stole several bites.
We both really enjoyed it. It was fresh, clean, citrusy, and a touch spicy from the habaneros that Belizeans love so much.
I really didn’t know about ceviche growing up, seeing as we didn’t eat much seafood. BUT, all things considered, I doubt I’d have touched this dish with a ten foot pole even if I had been exposed to it. It’s a Mexican specialty that has easily migrated to other Central American countries and Caribbean islands. Ceviche means that seafood has been “cooked” in citrus juice. It is never exposed to a traditional heat source for cooking it. So up until about my mid-twenties, I would have considered it raw and stayed far, far away.
I’m very glad I have changed my mind, because ceviche is delicious, easy, and healthy! Our waiter in Belize told us that ceviche is usually consumed after a long night of drinking. That hasn’t ever been my experience of it, but I can attest to the sheer pleasure of eating it with an icy cold beer.
Ceviche has since become a favorite of mine. I love how easy it is to prepare – you just need time to let it sit in the fridge. It’s so refreshing and clean tasting. Try it if you never have before, it’s so delish!
Recipe note: Don’t chop the veggies until right before they are needed, particularly the avocado, which will oxidize on you.
Source: adapted from Muy Bueno: Three Generations of Authentic Mexican Flavor by Yvette Marquez-Sharpnack, Veronica Gonzalez-Smith and Evangelina Soza
1 lb. large raw shrimp, peeled and deveined, then chopped into 1/4-inch pieces
Juice of 1 1/2 limes
Juice of 1 lemon
1 plum tomato, seeded and chopped
1 tbs chopped red onion
Half a jalapeno, seeded and minced
1 very small Kirby cucumber, chopped
1 tbs chopped fresh cilantro
Half an avocado, chopped
Kosher salt and black pepper
Spread out the chopped shrimp in a glass baking dish. Pour the lime juice and lemon juice over the shrimp, toss well, and refrigerate for 2 hours, mixing occasionally. The acid from the citrus juice will “cook” the shrimp.
Toss the prepared shrimp and the juices with the remaining ingredients (except for tortilla chips) and refrigerate for at least 1 hour longer. You can prepare this and let it sit overnight.
Serve cold with tortilla chips.