Monday, December 21, 2009

I hope you still find reasons to be my friend after I share this

because I know a lot of you only hang out with me in case it happens to be one of those nights I make ceviche tostadas. I know it. You know it. Louie knows it. Let’s just be honest here.

So I’m going to tell you how to make it, but promise you’ll still be my friend? Yes? Good.

Ceviche is a very beachy dish--one I ate a million times during the many trips we took to see my mom’s family in Mexico. It's kind of like a cold salad made with fish that marinates and essentially cooks in citrus juices. That’s right. There is no heat in this process but you wont be eating raw fish. Don’t be scared. If you use prawns, like I did, they will go from this:

To this:


And yes, I like making ceviche in the dead of winter. Reminds me what it’s like to sit out on the beach near my mom's and feel warm...

Mismaloya Beach, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

I’ve made ceviche with lobster, halibut, red snapper, and scallops but my favorite recipe includes shrimp. Fresh or frozen. Prawns are more widely found in the UK (they aren’t shrimp, but do look and taste similar) so that is what I used the other night. Almost any firm, mild-tasting fish works in this recipe, though. My friend Jenny even used defrosted tilapia once and said it was delicious!

You know what else is delicious? Ceviche de Soya. It’s the vegetarian version. I’ve never made it personally, but I have had my mom’s. (Sorry for holding out, Kate. I will make some for you and Dyl next taco party--I promise!) It’s been all the rage for the past few years amongst health fanatics in Mexico (including, like, all of my aunts who are always on a constant mission to lose weight) since it’s even healthier than fish ceviche. I’ve included instructions for that version, as well.

Yield: 4 mains
We eat ceviche atop tortilla chips and tostadas and serve it with extra Tapatio sauce for those who like theirs even spicier.The shrimp will need to marinate about 8 hours or overnight, so plan accordingly.

• 1 lb raw shrimp, peeled, de-veined and chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
• The juice of 10 limes (enough to fully submerge the shrimp)
• 5 medium firm tomatoes, cored, seeded and diced into 1/2-inch pieces
• ½ medium red onion, finely chopped
• 1-2 jalapeno peppers, cored and seeded, minced
• 3 tablespoons chopped cilantro
• 1 tablespoon mint chiffonade
• 1-2 tablespoons Mexican hot sauce (preferably Tapatio)
• Sea salt and pepper, to taste

In a large non-reactive bowl, marinate shrimp in lime juice 8 hours or overnight, stirring occasionally. When fully cooked, shrimp will look pink on the outside and opaque when sliced down the middle. Drain lime juice.

Add the next 6 ingredients, and salt and pepper, to taste. Stir gently with a large spoon. Serve with extra wedges of lime, sliced avocado and homemade tostadas.*

Ceviche de Soya
In place of fish and 10 limes, use an equal amount of rehydrated dried soya meat and 3 limes: cover soy with water (about 2 quarts) add a bay leaf, a smashed glove of garlic, a vegetable bullion cube and some salt and pepper. (In Mexico people use chicken bouillon cubes, but I guess that kind of defeats the purpose if you’re a vegetarian.) Boil for about 10 minutes, remove from heat, and let stand for 15 minutes longer.

Strain soya removing as much water as possible (squeezing between paper towels helps), and mash up with a spoon. There’s no need to marinate in lime over night.

Add the remaining ceviche ingredients, per instructions above. Dress the ceviche with the juice of 3 limes.

*Make your own tostadas: Heat a medium non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Coat the bottom of the pan with vegetable oil. Fry corn tortillas, about 30 seconds to 1 minute on each side, until puffy and golden.

Cook's Note: My friend Stephanie asked me a few very good questions about this recipe. I'm posting them here in case anyone else was wondering the same things.

1) What the heck is mint chiffonade (and where can I get it) and 2) what does in a "nonreactive bowl" mean?

A chiffonade is a method of chopping that produces thin ribbons of mint or other leafy vegetables. You simply take a stack of mint leaves, roll them up like a cigar from end to end, and slice short ways. "Chiffonade" in this recipe is linked to a wiki explanation with pictures... This type of cutting is purely for show--the ribbons of mint make for a nicer presentation. You may also rough chop the mint instead.

A nonreactive bowl is a bowl made of a material that won't react with the food that's in it-- especially citrus. Stainless steel, glass and ceramic are non reactive, copper and other metal bowls are not.


kate said...

I am so excited to read that there is a vegetarian version of this!! Yet another reason I can't wait for you to get back here.

chelleness said...

just fyi - you've never made me ceviche tostadas. :)

Andrea said...

haha I guess I can count the two of you as true friends? Although you might only come around for the espresso brownies. ;)

chelleness said...

haha. or anything you cook. even your toast tastes better than normal toast. ;)

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