Hello and welcome back to Kelly’s Kitchen! I am happy you’re here with me today. The weather in Athens this week felt especially tropical, with thunderstorms kicking up between moments of sun and intense cloud cover. It reminded me of a trip to Tulum that Alex and I took back in 2016. As I reminisced, I recalled all the ceviche we ate (the best was at La Buena Vida!). Being on the Caribbean Sea, the Riviera Maya has a solid seafood game; and in Tulum, ceviche was prominently featured at restaurants all over town – from the walk-up beach bars to the sit down beachfront restaurants. So this week, let’s take a little vacation to the tropical paradise of Tulum and enjoy the flavors of the Riviera Maya. This is how to make ceviche…
Ceviche is seafood salad, whereby the fish is “cooked” by the acidity of lime juice. It’s nutritious and flavorful, cool and refreshing – perfect for a hot summer day. It’s typically made with whitefish like halibut, bass or grouper, for instance. I have had it with octopus and scallops too. But today we are doing it with shrimp (mostly because I didn’t find any halibut, bass or grouper). You will want to be sure you get the highest quality fish you can buy. I found wild-caught Georgia shrimp.
* The Science of Ceviche: The citric acid in citrus juice denatures the proteins in the fish flesh causing the protein chains to reorganize themselves into a formation that resembles the texture and appearance of heat-cooked fish. When properly marinated, the meat should be opaque and firm on the outside while retaining a soft translucent center. When overdone, the citric acid will turn the fish chalky and dry.
How to Make Ceviche
In addition to one pound of shrimp, we are using two Roma tomatoes, two jalepeños, half a red onion, two Cara Cara oranges, one bunch of cilantro and seven limes. (Also: 2 tablespoons olive oil and kosher salt to taste.)
Step 1: Juice your limes. You will need 1 cup of lime juice which is about 7 medium to large limes. Be sure to buy extra in case you get a dud that’s on the dry side.
Step 2: Dice your red onion.
Step 3: I had to peel and devein my shrimp. So do that first. Then rinse them off really well. You can totally buy peeled and deveined shrimp if you don’t want to bother with that. If you’re nervous at all to cook fish this way (you shouldn’t be!), you can very, very lightly poach the shrimp in boiling water before proceeding with this recipe. But I feel that there is a uniqueness to the flavor and the texture when it’s “cooked” in the lime juice – it’s more tender and delicate. Whichever way you go, you will cut the shrimp into ½ inch sized pieces.
Step 4: Combine your shrimp, lime juice and red onion, mix well and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Step 5: Quarter and remove the seeds from the Romas, then dice the flesh.
Step 6: I quite like this recipe with the oranges, Cara Caras are sweet and juicy and it’s a nice contrast to the lime. You can use mango, pineapple, whatever you like! If you go with citrus you will want to cut the orange into pith-free segments called suprêmes. To suprême an orange, slice off each end; with the orange sitting on one flat end, take your knife and, from top to bottom, carefully slice around the shape of the fruit. Once the peel is off, slice segments between the membranes.
Step 7: Halve your jalepeños and remove the seeds, or leave some if you like it spicy! Then dice your peppers.
Step 8: Roughly chop the cilantro and measure out two tablespoons of olive oil. You will need Kosher salt to taste.
Step 9: Wait until you’re just about to pull your shrimp from the fridge and dice that avocado.
Step 10: After 30 minutes of marinating, strain your shrimp and onions, discard the lime juice.
Step 11: Then, add your prepped ingredients to the shrimp and onions, pour on the olive oil and mix gently to combine. Season to taste with Kosher salt.
You can serve this with tortilla chips for dipping, tostada shells, or you can do what I did and get some street taco-size corn tortillas, give them a quick fry (in about 1/4 inch of vegetable oil) to crisp them up, and serve it like tacos.
Step 12: Then, get yourself a bottle of Modelo beer (with a lime wedged in the bottle, of course!) and get ready to be transported to the sunny beaches of Riviera Maya!
While the reality of going back to Tulum for a vacation seems like a distant fantasy these days, reliving the memory through the flavors we enjoyed there is a perfect compromise. Enjoying this ceviche out on the screened porch with the tropical weather this week, we were transported back to the gorgeous beaches, sultry jungles, refreshing cenotes and the majestic Mayan ruins of Tulum. I wonder, have any of you been to the Yucatan Peninsula?
- 1 lb Deveined Shrimp Cut in 1/2 inch pieces
- 2 Roma Tomatoes Diced
- 1 Avocado Diced
- 1/2 Red Onion Diced
- 1 Bunch Cilantro Rough Chopped
- 2 Jalapeños Diced
- 1 Large Orange - Or 2 Small Oranges Cut in Suprêmes
- 1 cup Fresh Squeezed Lime Juice
- 2 tbsp Olive Oil
- Kosher Salt to Taste
Combine shrimp, diced onion and lime juice in a bowl. Refrigerate for 30 minutes
After 30 minutes, strain the onions and shrimp, discard the lime juice
Combine the rest of the ingredients and gently stir. Season with Kosher salt to taste.
Serve with chips for dipping, on tostadas, or corn tortillas.