Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Shrimp Ceviche Cocktail

Six posts until Cinco de Mayo so let’s use that as an excuse to cook Mexican dishes.  One night the theme for dinner group was Mexican and the two of us who were assigned to appetizer both made this dish.  Out of all the recipes available, what are the odds that we would choose the same one?  Makes me think that I’m brilliant because Amber is a great cook.  Or perhaps I should have played the lottery.  And now, my friend Linda is hosting a party and she is serving this dish but pre-party, we are conducting research: does it really make a difference whether you use pre-cooked shrimp or if you should boil it yourself?  The answer from our esteemed taste testers: with all the sauce, you cannot taste a difference so it is your choice whether to go with the convenience of the pre-cooked shrimp or to cook your own.

A little history lesson for you: Cinco de Mayo is a celebration held on May 5. This day is celebrated nationwide in the US as a celebration of Mexican heritage and pride and regionally in Mexico to commemorate the Mexican army's unlikely victory over French forces at the Battle of Puebla in 1862.  In case you thought that Cinco de Mayo was Mexico's Independence Day, that day is celebrated on September 16.

This recipe was adapted from one published in Mexico One Plate at a Time by Rick Bayless, not to be confused with his brother, sports journalist, and former Dallasite, Skip Bayless. 

Shrimp Ceviche Cocktail
  1. ½ C plus 2 T fresh lime juice
  2. 1 lb shrimp (I tried 2 types of shrimp from the fish market: medium uncooked (count: 20-25/lb); and large cooked (count: 20-24/lb post-cooked and deshelled weight) - either works fine, cut into bite size chunks 
  3. 1/3 - ½ C medium white onion, chopped into 1/4 inch pieces
  4. 1/4 - 1/3 C chopped fresh cilantro
  5. ½ C ketchup
  6. 1-2 T vinegary Mexican bottled hot sauce (such as Tamazula, Valentina or Búfalo – I used Tamazula (note that there are 2 versions: salsa picante and extra hot)
  7. About 2 T olive oil, preferably extra-virgin, optional but recommended
  8. 1/2 - 1 C diced peeled cucumber or jícama (or half and half)
  9. 1 small ripe avocado, peeled, pitted and cubed
  10. Salt
  11. Several lime slices for garnish
  12. Tostadas, tortilla chips, or saltine crackers
If you choose to cook your own shrimp, bring 1 quart salted water to a boil and add 2 tablespoons of lime juice. Place the shrimp in the boiling water, cover and let the water return to the boil. Immediately remove from the heat and pour off the liquid. Replace the lid slightly off and let the shrimp steam off the heat for 10 minutes. Spread out the shrimp in a large glass or stainless steel bowl to cool completely. Peel and devein the shrimp if you wish. Toss the shrimp with the remaining ½ C lime juice, cover and refrigerate for about an hour.

Chop the onion and then rinse under cold water in a small strainer, then shake off the excess liquid. Add to the shrimp bowl along with the cilantro, ketchup, hot sauce, optional olive oil, cucumber and/or jícama and avocado. Taste and season with salt, usually about ½ t . Cover and refrigerate if not serving immediately.

Spoon the ceviche into sundae glasses, martini glasses, or small bowls: garnish with sprigs of cilantro and slices of lime. Serve with tostadas, tortilla chips or saltines to enjoy alongside.

The ceviche is best served the day that it is made.  The flavorings can be added to the shrimp a few hours in advance.  Ole - muy bueno!

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