Bring home the taste of that little beach-side bistro with this Ecuadorian ceviche recipe.
Ceviche is a seafood dish found throughout coastal Latin America and consists of various types of fish or shellfish “cured” in an acidic sauce rather than cooked. Each region may have its own specialty, depending on what seafood is generally caught in the area or the nuances of local cuisine.
This Ecuadorian recipe uses lightly steamed shrimp that continue to cure in a tomato-based sauce. Prep time is about an hour and a half with an extra hour of resting time in the refrigerator. It’s the perfect way to relive your travels, or enjoy the flavor of the coast of Ecuador if you have yet to go.
- 2 lb raw shrimp
- 1 large onion
- 1 orange
- 2 lemons
- 1 lb tomatoes
- A few stems of cilantro
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon mustard
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Pepper to taste
Prepping the Onion-Lemon Mixture
1. Prepare the onion. Dice the onion very finely. Try to make the pieces uniform by working with a very sharp knife. Place the diced onion in a colander and wash it in very cool water. Let the excess drip away. Be sure not to smash the diced onion.
- Some recipes call for larger pieces of onion. Finely diced onion blends well into the sauce, adding a subtle onion flavor to the finished dish. If you want more of an onion “bite,” add larger onion pieces.
- You can use red onion, white onion or yellow onion for this dish. Choose your favorite type of onion, or a combination of more than one.
2. Squeeze the lemons. Squeeze the juice from the lemons into a large bowl. Be sure it’s large enough to hold the 2 pounds of shrimp, since the same bowl will be used to make and store the ceviche.
- A lemon juicer helps to do this job more easily.
- If you don’t have fresh lemons, add 1/2 cup of lemon juice from a bottle.
3. Add the onion to the lemon juice. Place the diced onion in the large bowl with the lemon juice and add ½ a teaspoon of salt.
4. Set the sauce aside for 1 hour. Make note of the time so as to know when the 1 hour has passed.
Finishing the Sauce
1. Cook 1/2 pound of tomatoes. Cut slits in the tops of the tomatoes and place them in a pot of boiling water. Cook them for about 3 minutes, or until the skin begins to peel away from the meat of the tomatoes. Remove them from heat and drain the water.
- You can roast the tomatoes if you don’t want to boil them. Cut them into slices and place them in an oven preheated to 350 degrees. Cook until the tomatoes have lost their structure and released their juices.
2. Blend the cooked tomatoes with the remaining raw tomatoes. Place the cooked tomatoes in a blender. Chop the raw tomatoes into rough pieces and add them to the blender. Blend the raw and cooked tomatoes until smooth.
- Be careful blending the hot cooked tomatoes. Putting hot substances in the blender may cause the blender’s top to fly off.
- Don’t overfill the blender. You may have to blend the ingredients in more than one batch.
3. Dice the cilantro into small pieces. Set it aside to add to the ceviche later.
4. Squeeze the orange into a bowl. Set it aside to add to the ceviche later.
Preparing the Shrimp
1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. The pot should be large enough to hold all 2 pounds of shrimp. Place it on the stove over medium high heat and bring it to a full boil.
2. Add the shrimp to the pot. Add ½ a teaspoon of salt to pot with the shrimp. Cook the shrimp for just under 3 minutes, or until they turn bright pink.
- Cooking the shrimp before adding it to the lemon juice kills the bacteria the shrimp might contain. If your shrimp are fresh off the boat, you don’t have to cook them first, but otherwise it’s better to play it safe.
3. Remove the shrimp from heat and drain. At this point you may decide whether you want to serve the shrimp peeled or unpeeled. If you want to serve it peeled, let it cool for a few minutes, then peel the shrimp and remove the veins. Otherwise, simply drain the cooked shrimp.
4. Combine the ceviche ingredients. When the onion-lemon mixture has been refrigerated for one hour, add the tomato juice, orange juice, mustard, cooked shrimp, diced cilantro, and olive oil to the large bowl. Use a spoon to mix the ingredients well. Add salt and pepper to taste.
5. Refrigerate the ceviche for one hour. When it’s finished, place the ceviche in a serving dish and serve immediately.