Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Shrimp Avocado Ceviche

What's a perfect, make in advance, light meal for warm weather?

Ceviche!  I think ceviche is one of those dishes you eat out at restaurants and think to yourself, this is so good but I can't make it like this at home.   Well I'm here to tell you to ignore that voice in your head, ceviche is easy to make and tastes even better when it's made in advance.

Ceviche originates from South and Central America, where fresh seafood is often abundant.  Traditionally ceviche is raw seafood that is marinaded in a citric acid (such as lime juice) and this acid then "cooks" the seafood.  This is why the dish is prepared in advance so that the acidic juices have time to react with the seafood and "cook" it.  This version here is going against the grain a bit, in that I am not using the acid to actually cook the shrimp.  I did this for two reasons.  Mainly because eating raw seafood that has been "cooked" by it's marinade can seem a bit scary for food safety reasons and I wanted this dish to be more approachable for the everyday cook.  And secondly, because by using cooked seafood in this dish we can forgo the longer required marinating time of the traditional process, meaning you can whip this meal up and be ready to eat in 30 minutes.

You can use a variety of different seafood for your ceviche, other traditional recipes include fish such as Bass, Halibut, Snapper or even squid. I like to make the ceviche first and then prepare other side dishes so that the flavors have time to really incorporate.  This dish makes awesome leftovers, so I encourage you to make extra to enjoy the following day.

This ceviche is not only delicious, it is also nutritious! Shrimp is a great, high quality protein that is also low in calories and fat (although I have nothing against fat).  About 4 ounces of shrimp provides close to 24 grams of protein.  It is also a good source of Selenium, vitamin B12, iron and omega-3 fatty acids.  Shrimp is considered to be low in mercury levels so it is safe to consume on a regular basis. In addition to the shrimp, this recipe includes heart healthy fats from avocado and lycopene, vitamin C and beta-carotene from the colorful bell peppers.

  • 3 bell peppers, diced (any colors, I used red/orange/yellow)
  • 1 cucumber, diced
  • 1 avocado, cubed
  • 1 lb cooked shrimp, tail off
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • pepper (to taste)
  • jalapeno, minced (optional)
  • red onion, diced (optional)
Dice the first 4 ingredients and set aside in a medium bowl.  In a small bowl add the lemon juice, lime juice, olive oil and salt, whisk until combined.  Pour this mixture over the diced shrimp and vegetables, lightly toss until the marinade has coated the shrimp mixture.  At this point you can add in the cilantro and any of the other optional ingredients that you desire.  Toss one last time and season with pepper to taste.  Place in the refrigerator to chill or serve immediately. 

Serve the ceviche with tortilla chips, warm corn tortillas or cooked brown rice.  I chose to serve mine with homemade tortilla chips coated in lime juice and sprinkled with salt.

Cheers to trying something new and to good health!

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