Right from the beginning I want to point out that the shrimp in this ceviche are COOKED. In Ecuador it’s policy to briefly cook any seafood for ceviche before marinating.
Oli prepared this ceviche in April when the Virginia Beach weather was still chilly and damp. After just one bite, we knew this is food to serve after a long, hot day at the beach! You cannot imaging how divinely refreshing this is. The gazpacho-like marinade is lite yet zippy. Those marinated onions have an unbelievably mild, citrusy sweetness and crunch that enhances the overall freshness and summertime flavors of seafood, garden tomatoes and fresh herbs.
In Ecuador, ceviche de camaron (shrimp ceviche) is served with fried plantain chips and a toasted chulpe corn snack called cancha. You can purchase chulpe corn in the Spanish food section of your grocery store or in Latin markets. It is a pointy kernel that pops when heated, but doesn’t burst and puff up like the popcorn we know. It puffs up and toasts – like corn nuts.
Since Oli decided to make this dish on the spur of the moment good ole popcorn was an appropriate substitute for the cancha. In fact, popcorn as we know it is a frequent accompaniment even in Ecuador.
Prepare the shrimp, pickled onions and the marinade before you head to the beach. About an hour before serving all you have to do is add the shrimp to the marinade and pop it back in the fridge to marry all of the goodness.
By the way, this absolutely calls for an ice-cold cerveza or two.
Shrimp Ceviche Ecuadorian Style
Prepare the shrimp
1 gallon water
2 tablespoons salt
3 limes, cut in quarters
2 pounds uncooked, shell on shrimp
1. In a large pot, over high heat, bring water, salt and limes to a boil.
2. Throw in shrimp and cook for only a minute.
3. Remove shrimp and drain. When cool, peel shrimp but leave tails on.
4. Discard water and limes.
5. Refrigerate shrimp until serving.
Pickle the onions
2 red onions, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon salt
2 pints water
4 limes, juice only
Salt and pepper
1. In a medium bowl combine onions and salt. Let sit for 10 minutes.
2. In the meantime, in a medium sauce pan, over high heat, bring water to a boil.
Be prepared to work quickly here. You don’t want overcooked, mushy onions. So have the colander ready to go.
3. Place onions in a colander. Rinse and drain well.
4. Add onions to boiling water for only 20 seconds. Remove them to colander and drain.
5. Rinse onions with cold water and drain well.
6. In a medium glass bowl, combine onions and lime juice.
7. Salt and pepper to taste.
8. Refrigerate until serving.
Make the marinade
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
½ red onion, finely chopped
3 tomatoes, seeded and finely chopped
1 red bell pepper ,seeded and finely chopped
2 jalapenos or red chilies, seeded and finely chopped
3 scallions finely chopped
1/2 cup finely chopped cilantro
2 tablespoons ketchup
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 orange, juice only
5 limes, juice only
1 teaspoon salt
1. In the bowl of a food processor, process garlic, onion, tomatoes, bell and chili pepper until well combined. Transfer to a medium glass bowl.
2. Add scallions, cilantro, ketchup, vegetable oil, orange juice, lime juice and salt to tomato and pepper mixture. Stir to combine well.
3. Refrigerate until serving.
An hour before serving
1. Give the sauce a good stir. Salt and pepper to taste.
2. Gently mix in shrimp.
3. Refrigerate for about an hour.
In the meantime, you can make the plantain chips and/or popcorn.
2 plantains peeled
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
oil for deep-frying
1. In a deep pot, heat oil to 350 F.
2. Slice plantains very thinly and toss with salt and chili powder.
3. Gently lower them into the hot oil and fry until they take on color.
4. Drain on paper towels.
1. Spoon shrimp and sauce into individual serving bowls.
2. Top with pickled onions.
3. Plantain chips and/or popcorn on the side.