When the temperature starts to climb into the upper regions just the thought of turning on the stove makes my brow sweat. This is the time to chill out with cool foods. Fresh seafood, tangy limes, seasonal produce and fresh herbs make ceviche one of the most popular dishes in the coastal regions of Central and South America and it has rapidly found its way into the trendiest restaurants in North America. One can pay a pretty price for ceviche in a restaurant but it can be made at home economically and easily.
Ceviche or (seviche) is a dish made with raw seafood. The acid in the citrus “cooks” the seafood by denaturing its proteins, the same way that heat does. But many people shy away from the idea of eating raw seafood, so make one with cooked shrimp. And to keep super cool in the kitchen, make it with store bought cooked shrimp so you don’t have to even glance at the stove. There is no need to splurge on the expensive jumbo shrimp as cocktail size, the smallest (and cheapest) size is just as good, because you will be cutting them into smaller pieces. To keep this dish crisp and fresh yet highly marinated, I use raw corn and cucumber. I don’t use avocado or tomato as they will break down and become soft quickly. Serve this as a fancy appetizer salad in a martini glass, or with tortilla chips for a crowd on a hot summer’s day. A nice touch is with a splash of tequila. For lunch, serve it inside crunchy corn tortillas. Another added bonus is that it’s high in protein, low in carbs and calories – under 1 Weight Watchers “Smart Points” for 1 cup. It can be made three days ahead and kept chilled in the refrigerator.
Makes 4 cups of 8 1/2 cup appetizer servings or 8 large taco shell servings
- 1 lb. peeled cooked shrimp
- 1 cup fresh raw corn kernels (about 1 can)
- 2 cups 1/4 in. diced, peeled and seeded cucumber (about 1 large)
- 1/2 cup fresh lime juice
- 1/2 cup orange juice
- 1 1/2 – 2 tsp. kosher salt to taste
- 1/2 – 1 tsp habanero sauce to taste
- 1/3 cup 1/8 in. (very small) diced red onion
- 1/2 cup coarsely chopped cilantro
Dice the shrimp into 1/2 inch pieces. In a bowl, combine all the ingredients except the olive oil. Let marinate in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours, preferably overnight to intensify the flavors. Keep well chilled. Serve with the marinade in a glass or bowl, or drain well if serving in a taco shell.
Prudence Sloane is a well-known television and radio personality, culinary educator and food writer as well as the founder of Prudence Sloane’s Cooking School and Hartford City Food Tours. For more information, visit prudencesloane.com.
photographed by PRUDENCE SLOANE