This past Friday night I was flying solo. My husband was working, and I had the house all to myself. I decided to take advantage of “alone” time and make something he would usually turn his nose up at: shrimp (I think it’s a texture thing for him). The weather was beautiful; it was sunny and 72 degrees. I turned to shrimp because I wanted to make something that reminded me of warmer climates. Something lighter, but full of flavor. I also wanted something quick that wouldn’t require a lot of cleanup of the kitchen. Ceviche is perfect for this type of scenario.
Ceviche is any type of raw fish that is marinated in citrus juice. Basically you put all the ingredients into a bowl, let it sit for a couple of hours until the fish is firm, and then eat. It’s different from sushi because the acid from the citrus changes the protein structure of the fish so the texture is more like cooked fish. The flavor however is very mild and refreshing. Ceviche is usually great on its own, maybe served with some corn or plantain chips. I wanted more of a full meal though, so I turned it into tacos. In my mind, a great fish taco has slaw. When I was at the store, mangos were on sale for $.59/each, I couldn’t pass that up. So I made a basic slaw of green cabbage, mango, and cilantro. For a sauce I wanted to stick to something healthier (rather than a sour cream or mayonnaise based sauce), so I made an avocado tomatillo green salsa. Tomatillos are sweet and have a nice citrus flavor which pairs so well with fish. The avocado adds a nice creamy texture which helps to balance out the acid. Also, the salsa takes 5 minutes because you just throw everything in the blender. So much cheaper and tastier than buying salsa from the store!
Dinner was ready in 30 minutes, and the tacos were so good. When I took that first bite, and tasted all those citrus flavors and the fresh shrimp, it made me feel like was sitting on a deck somewhere over looking the ocean. I think the hardest thing about cooking for yourself, is not being able to share your delicious creation with anyone else. Thankfully, I had enough leftovers that I invited my parents over the next night and we had the ceviche and salsa as hors d’oeuvre with pomegranate margaritas. The warm weather however was short-lived, and this week there is snow in the forecast (pretty typical Reno weather). At least for one night we could all feel that Spring was on the horizon.
Ceviche Shrimp Tacos
*Makes 12 Tacos
1 lb Shrimp (26-30)- uncooked, peeled, deveined, tails off
3 Limes – zest & juice
3 Radishes – thinly sliced
1/4 Red Onion – thinly sliced
1/4 cup Cilantro – Rough Chop
1/2 Jalapeno – deseeded, finely chopped or julienned
Salt & Pepper to taste
3 Tomatillos – husks removed
1 Lime – juice
1/2 cup Cilantro – leaves
1/2 Jalapeno – deseeded
Salt & Pepper to taste
1/2 head Green Cabbage – thinly sliced
1 Mango (large) – peeled & thinly sliced
1/2 cup Cilantro leaves
*12 corn or flour tortillas, extra limes for garnish, tortilla chips to eat with leftover salsa
*Or leave out the tortillas and make a salad (for those that are “low-carbing” it)
- In a medium-sized bowl, combine all the ingredients for the shrimp ceviche. Cover and put in the refrigerator for an hour or two. The acid in the lime will help to neutralize the onion and jalapeno. It will also “pickle” the shrimp, and make it white and firm. If you don’t have a couple of hours, you can blanch the shrimp in hot water for a minute, and then cool it back down with cold water. Combine the shrimp with the other ingredients and let sit for 15 minutes.
- Make the green salsa. Place the tomatillos in simmering water for 5 minutes. Remove from the water and place into a blender. Let them cool for about 5 minutes. Add the lime juice, cilantro, jalapeno, salt and pepper to the blender and blend until combined. Add the avocado and blend until smooth. Taste & season with more salt and pepper if necessary. Remove the salsa from the blender into a separate bowl, and place in refrigerator to cool.
- Make the slaw. In a large bowl, toss the cabbage, cilantro, and mango together. Add 1/2 cup of the green salsa. Mix to combine. The slaw should be moist, if it still seems dry add some more green salsa. Let stand 10 minutes before serving (this will help the cabbage to soften a little with the salsa).
- Build the tacos. Drain the ceviche of excess liquid. Heat the tortillas until soft and then top them with the slaw and the shrimp ceviche. Add some more green salsa on top to taste. Devour immediately.