With the warm days of summer upon us, a great way to cool off is with ceviche!
What is Shrimp Ceviche?
Ceviche is typically made with red snapper that is "cooked" by the acidity of lime and lemon juice (see this ceviche recipe.)
This version of ceviche is prepared with shrimp, which is first lightly cooked and then marinated in the citrus juice.
My father, who generally doesn't really like shrimp that much, loved this ceviche. (Gotta love it when they eat it up and ask for more!)
Why Pre-Cook the Shrimp?
While the acidic marinade "cooks" (denatures) the proteins, it may not kill all of the bacteria. Traditionally ceviche is made with raw seafood, but even then it is recommended that pregnant women or people with compromised immune systems avoid it.
Personally I don't find this as much of an issue with raw fish (think sushi, sashimi), but for some reason shellfish like shrimp and scallops can go bad much more easily. Unless your seafood is extremely fresh, I recommend lightly pre-cooking it first.
Frozen vs. Fresh Shrimp
Yes, you can use frozen shrimp for this recipe (in fact, most "fresh" shrimp you buy at the market is actually defrosted frozen shrimp), but you'll need to thaw it first. To do this, take your frozen shrimp out of the bag, set it in a bowl or colander in the sink, and let cold water trickle over the shrimp for 15-20 minutes.
To save time on the day you plan to serve this ceviche, cook the shrimp the night before and refrigerate in an airtight container.
You can make the ceviche up to 4 hours in advance, completing steps 1 through 3, then adding the cilantro, cucumber, and avocado in step 4 just before serving. Too long in the citrusy marinade and the shrimp get rubbery.
Swaps and Substitutions
- Seafood: This wouldn't be a shrimp ceviche without shrimp, but readers have enjoyed mixing in other seafood, such as crab and scallops, as well.
- Citrus: We like the balance that a combination of lemon and lime juice gives, but you can use just one or the other if you prefer. Some readers have also recommended adding orange juice to the mix.
- Onion: No red onion on hand? Feel free to use yellow or white onion, or even scallions, instead.
- Peppers: Serranos are moderately hot, but you can swap in a habanero if you prefer even more heat. For slightly less kick, try a Fresno or jalapeño pepper, seeds and ribs removed. Some readers like to add a little hot sauce to their ceviche -- make it your own!
- Mix-ins: Not a cilantro fan? Just leave it out. Swap in diced tomatoes in place of (or in addition to) cucumbers.
Serve your chilled ceviche in a big bowl to share, or in individual martini or shot glasses, with tortilla chips for dipping.
Serve and Eat on the Same Day
It's best to enjoy your ceviche on the day you make it, as it can start to over-marinate and the shrimp tends to get rubbery if you let it sit for much longer than the recommended time.
More Delicious Shrimp Recipes to Try
- Shrimp Cocktail
- Skillet Shrimp Fajitas
- Bang Bang Shrimp Tacos
- Shrimp and Grits
- Grilled Shrimp Tacos With Mango Avocado Salsa
If you find the ceviche a little too acidic, drain out some of the juices after the marinating, add a little more avocado (or some olive oil) and/or a little more salt.
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1 pound medium-small shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 3/4 cup lime juice (juice from 4-6 limes)
- 3/4 cup lemon juice (juice from 2-3 lemons)
- 1 cup finely chopped red onion
- 1 serrano chile, ribs and seeds removed, minced
- 1 cup chopped cilantro
- 1 cucumber, peeled diced into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1 avocado, peeled, seed removed, cut into 1/2-inch chunks
- Tortilla chips, for serving
Boil the shrimp:
In a large pot, bring 2 quarts of water to a boil, salted with 1 tablespoon of salt. Add the shrimp and cook for 1 minute to 2 minutes max, depending on size of shrimp. (Over-cooking the shrimp will turn it rubbery.)
Remove shrimp with a slotted spoon and place into a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking.
Cut up the shrimp, mix with lime and lemon juice:
Drain the shrimp. Cut each piece of shrimp in half, or into inch-long pieces.
Place the shrimp in a glass or ceramic bowl. Mix in the lime and lemon juice. Cover and refrigerate for a half hour.
Mix in the onion and chile:
Mix in the chopped red onion and serrano chile. Refrigerate an additional half hour.
Add the remaining mix-ins:
Right before serving, add the cilantro, cucumber, and avocado. Serve chilled with tortilla chips.