In the hot summer months, we crave cold, fresh, bright, and juicy dishes, and nothing quite satisfies those cravings like ceviche! No matter what seafood you choose, slurping back a big bowl of fresh fish, raw vegetables, and fruits marinated in citrus juices is a simple pleasure. For this recipe, we adopt a classic Mexican approach with the use of shrimp, lime juice, and chiles native to Mexico.
What is Ceviche?
Ceviche is a South American citrus-marinated seafood dish. Its traditional preparation, which we employ for our recipe, involves curing the seafood in citrus juices. Once cured, it is tossed with onions, cilantro, and a variety of fruits and vegetables.
There are so many variations depending on the dish’s origin. For instance, Peru prepares ceviche with raw fish. Traditionally, it is served with sweet potatoes, toasted white corn, and chilies in a spicy “leche de tigre” (tiger’s milk), usually made from clam juice or fish stock. Another version from Ecuador features shrimp in citrus juices and tomato sauce.
No matter what version one is adopting, the seafood and vegetables are always diced while onions are thinly sliced. These cuts allow the seafood, vegetables, and fruits to soak up the flavors around them.
Cutting the Vegetables
The cut of each vegetable and fruit is key to achieving the perfect ceviche so that every bite is as enjoyable as the last. Cut the grapefruit into segments. Unsure how to achieve this? Check out this video.
Habanero peppers are very spicy, so dice them very finely to ensure they are enjoyable to eat. If you are not a fan of spicy dishes, consider using only 1/4 of the habanero pepper.
There is no need to peel an English cucumber as the skin is enjoyable to eat. Thinly slice the English cucumber into half-moons. Additionally, thinly slice the shallots into fine long strips using a knife or a mandoline.
Finally, chop the cilantro, and the mint leaves finely to ensure they are well integrated into every bite.
How to Clean, Devein, and Cut the Shrimp
Peel, clean, and devein the shrimp before preparing the ceviche. To peel the shrimp, use scissors to cut along the middle back of the shell, and use your hands to peel it away from the shrimp’s body. Moreover, place your thumb and your index finger around the shrimp at the base of the body and squeeze, to remove the tails.
To devein the shrimp, use a paring knife to scrape the shrimp’s digestive tract from its spine. It is a visible long black line down the spine of the shrimp. Finally, cut each shrimp into three pieces.
Cleaning and deveining the shrimp can be tricky if you are unfamiliar with the steps. Allow Emeril Lagasse to show you the way in this video.
Is Ceviche Safe to Eat?
The simple answer is yes. When the shrimp are submerged in citrus juice or other acids, the protein structure in the shrimp changes so that it essentially “cooks” without the application of heat. This method of “cooking” the shrimp kills some but perhaps not all bacteria, so be sure to use fresh shrimp from your local fishmonger. Mention to him or her that you will be making ceviche so he or she can steer you in the right direction of the freshest selection.
If you cannot get your hands on fresh shrimp, we recommend poaching the shrimp in boiling water. Visit the following section to learn more about each cooking method.
Two Cooking Methods for Ceviche
1. Traditional Method of Ceviche Preparation
Classic ceviche is prepared by submerging the seafood in citrus juices and vinegar and refrigerating it for 1.5 to 2 hours. When you remove the seafood from the refrigerator, the seafood should appear opaque. If you opt for this method for our recipe, cut the shrimp before adding it to the citrus juices.
2. Poaching the Seafood in Boiling Water
If you are uneasy about curing the seafood in citrus, place a saucepan on the stovetop at high heat. Salt the water. When the water begins to boil, add the shrimp and cook it for 2-3 minutes until the shrimp is pink and opaque. Finally, run the shrimp under cold water to stop the cooking process. If you opt for this method for our recipe, cut the shrimp after poaching it in the boiling water.
How to Serve Shrimp Ceviche
- Eat it alone.
- Serve it with salted blue or yellow corn tortilla chips.
- Serve it with plantain chips.
- Serve it on a bed of white or brown rice.
This dish is best consumed fresh. However, if you have leftover shrimp ceviche, store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator and eat it for up to 2 days for maximum freshness.
We recommend pairing this dish with our Spicy Classic Margarita with Homemade Spicy Salt! Recipe coming soon.
Purge Your Fridge
You just finished devouring our shrimp ceviche, and you are left with the following excess ingredients:
- English cucumber
- Habanero peppers
Ditch the waste and make these Honey Habanero Pickles. Dress sandwiches, garnish tacos, or throw them in a rice bowl! Alternatively, try this Refreshing Mango and Cucumber Salsa to top chicken or fish!
- 1 lb. shrimp
- 2 grapefruits segments
- 1 shallot thinly sliced
- 2 cup English Cucumber half-moons
- 1/2 habanero finely chopped
- 1 cup lime juice freshly squeezed
- 1 1/4 cup grapefruit juice squeezed from excess grapefruit
- 1/2 cup orange juice squeezed from naval orange
- 1/4 cup mint leaves finely chopped
- 1 cup cilantro finely chopped
- 2 tsp cumin seeds
- 1.5 tsp salt
- ground pepper
Clean the Shrimp and Cut the Vegetables
- Clean and devein shrimp. Cut each shrimp into three pieces. Set aside.
- Peel and cut grapefruit into segments, peel and thinly slice the shallots lengthwise, and cut English cucumbers into half-moons.
- Finely chop habanero, cilantro, and mint leaves.
Cook the Shrimp
- Add lime and grapefruit juice into a mixing bowl.
- Add shrimp to the mixing bowl. Ensure the shrimp are fully submerged into the liquid.
- Cover with plastic wrap (or a lid) and refrigerate for 1.5-2 hours or until shrimp becomes opaque. If you are pressed for time, you can place a saucepan on the stovetop at high heat and fill it with water. Season the water with salt. Boil shrimp for 2-3 minutes or until opaque. Run the shrimp under cold water.
Toss Shrimp with Vegetables and Herbs
- Remove the mixing bowl of shrimp from the refrigerator. Drain 1/2 cup of the liquid from the mixing bowl.
- Add orange juice, sliced shallots, grapefruit segments, cucumber half-moons, diced habanero peppers, cumin seeds, cilantro, and mint. Toss well.
- Season with salt and ground pepper.
- Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 20 minutes.
- Remove the ceviche from the refrigerator.
- Serve with tortilla chips.