Tanya has been known to write recipes on napkins, receipts, and blank book pages but has stopped short of tattooing her favorites on her derriere.
South American Escape: Fall in Love with Ceviche
In celebration of the official arrival of summer, we’re venturing to South America for another culinary adventure. South America is the birth place of the irresistible concoction known as ceviche. Now popular wherever the climate is right, this light, cool, and delicious dish conjures images of white sandy beaches, lazy cuddling in the hammock, and umbrella-studded drinks. It’s perfect for those days when you’d rather be chilling on the porch watching the sun set than slaving over a hot stove.
At its most traditional, ceviche is a magical dish made of raw seafood marinated in citrus juices. The acidity of the citrus alters the proteins of the seafood, turning it firm, as if it has been cooked. (The recipe given here calls for cooked shrimp, so there’s no need to be concerned about safety.) In other words, you can have dinner served in an hour with little more than a few minutes of true “cooking.” Quite obviously, this is a godsend when the sweltering heat of summer makes its debut. Whether you’ve spent the day at work or at play, ceviche is a refreshing treat featuring an abundance of textures and bright flavors sure to please any palate.
Stoke the Fire of Desire
And it doesn’t end there. This ceviche recipe also packs a passionate punch. Be prepared to fall in love with it, and with that guy or gal who’s lucky to share your table. If you’d like things to head in the direction of the bedroom, ceviche may be just what you need. Shrimp are high in iodine, zinc, and protein, all of which contribute to a healthy body and libido. If you’d like to set the mood, look no further than the phallic-shaped cucumber. The equally suggestive shape of the avocado earned this superstar fruit its name, which in Nahuatl is ahuacatl, meaning testicle. At one time, Spanish priests banned the fruit for its sexual connotations. Chiles rev up the circulation and trigger the release of endorphins, those feel-good neurotransmitters that are also released when we’re in love.
It doesn’t get much better than this…except maybe if you serve the ceviche with cold beer, iced tea, chilled white wine, or even a margarita. If you’d like to dine tapas-style, set out a small bowl of olives and a plate of fresh bread with a good quality olive oil for dipping and you have yourself a Spanish-inspired romantic feast. Add a few candles and some background music (Latin American jazz comes to mind) and you may just get more than you imagined.
Ceviche makes a wonderfully light appetizer or meal. It’s as cool to prepare as it is to eat. This recipe serves 2-4.
- ½ pound frozen medium-sized shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1/3 cup lime juice (juice from 2-3 limes)
- 1/3 cup lemon juice (juice from 1-2 lemons)
- ½ cup finely chopped red onion
- ½ Serrano chile, ribs and seeds removed, minced
- ½ cup chopped fresh cilantro
- ½ cucumber, peeled and diced into 1/2 –inch pieces
- ½ avocado, peeled, seed removed, and cut into ½-inch chunks
1. In a large pot, bring 2 quarts of water to boil, salted with 1 tablespoon salt. Add the shrimp and cook for 2-3 minutes, depending on size of shrimp. Do not overcook the shrimp (they will become tough). Remove shrimp with a slotted spoon and place into a bowl of ice water to arrest the cooking.
2. Drain shrimp. Cut each shrimp into inch-long pieces. Place in a glass or ceramic bowl. Mix with the lime and lemon juice. Cover and refrigerate for 1/2 hour.
3. Mix in the chopped red onion and Serrano chile. Refrigerate an additional half hour.
4. Directly before serving, add the cilantro, cucumber, and avocado. Mix completely.