Sunday, January 11, 2015

Ceviche con mango

Ceviche (pronounced suh-vee-chay) is a favorite dish among many coastal Latin American countries. I first tried it in Cabo San Lucas back in my pre-Foodie days and fell in love with the explosion of amazing lime and fish flavors, with just a hint of spice.  I was a newbie to foods I'd never heard of and not very adventurous.  At first, I didn't want to try it, because I was told that it was made of raw fish.  However, the chemistry involved with the citric acid in the lime juice coagulates the proteins in the fish, therefore "cooking" it.

There is no right way to make ceviche, but there are definitely wrong ways, in my opinion.  Some have a tomato base, others have a stronger lime or lemon base.  The typical ceviche you will find in a Mexican-American restaurant is more of the shrimp cocktail variety (that would be my opinion of the wrong way).  Don't get me wrong; I love a good shrimp cocktail.  I just think if they are going to serve you shrimp cocktail, then just call it was it is.  Don't try to get all fancy and call something it's not.

I've tasted and made all kinds of ceviche, but this one is my all time favorite.  Our favorite restaurant, Andina, located in the Pearl District of Portland, serves a ceviche called, Mango verde (green mango).  This is my attempt at Mango verde, although I prefer the sweetness of the more ripened mango, so I thought I should call this Mango amarillo (yellow mango), or maybe Mango dulce (sweet mango). I ended up just naming this recipe Ceviche con mango (ceviche with mango), but I guarantee that your mouth will call it "delicious!"

1 lb uncooked shrimp with shells/tail on
1 lb raw scallops cut into small pieces
1 small red onion
1 mango (ripe!)
1/2 bunch cilantro (about 2/3 cup chopped, stems removed)
8-10 limes
1 T red pepper flakes
Your favorite hot sauce to flavor

Remove shell and vein from shrimp and slice each shrimp in half lengthwise to create two thin halves.  Cut scallops into thin pieces.   It's important to cut really thin slices so that the lime juice can thoroughly cook the raw shellfish.  The thicker your slices, the longer it will need to marinate and sometimes can end up too milky looking.  Trust me.  Just cut thin!  Place all pieces into 12x8 glass baking dish, spreading across to make one layer across the entire bottom of the dish.

Slice the  red onion into very thin strips, no more than 1/8 inch thick.  I do this by cutting the ends of the onion, and then cutting the entire onion in half once.  Placing the flat side on a cutting board, begin making very thin slices and separate each layer.  Sprinkle thin strips of onion across the top of the shrimp and scallops in the baking dish.

Cut 8 limes in half and juice with a handheld or plastic capped juicer.  I wasn't sure of an exact name of this, so I offer you a picture:

Don't attempt to try this using any electric juicer.  Please learn from my mistakes!  You will get too much pith and too thick of a juice.  If you don't have a juicer, just squeeze the lime juice by hand, reserving juice in a cup.  

Pour lime juice over top of seafood and onion mixture in baking dish.  The seafood should be covered as much as possible with the lime juice.  If you don't have enough juice, squeeze the last 2 limes and add to the mix.  I find that because some limes are much juicier than others, I sometimes need a couple extra on hand.

Sprinkle red pepper flakes over top of mixture.  Cover dish tightly with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator for at least 6 hours and up to 12, checking on it about 3-4 hours in to stir and mix up fish, redistributing the lime juice to ensure full contact.

About 30 minutes before serving, chop up cilantro, peel mango and cut into thin slices.  

Remove cover from baking dish and pour out excess liquid.  The seafood should no longer be translucent.  The scallops should be solid white and the shrimp should be lightly pink. 

Add cilantro and mango.  If you like a bit more kick than the red pepper flakes allow, add a few drops of your favorite hot sauce.

If you want to add a great twist to this, add a thick slice of cooked sweet potato.  This Peruvian twist adds another amazing sweet flavor to this very citrus dish.

This is definitely a "Make Ahead" dish as it needs several hours to marinate and "cook" the seafood.  
You can substitute the shellfish for any of your favorite white fish or calamari. 

Dietary Considerations:
Dairy Free
Gluten Free
Shellfish allergies- substitute your favorite white fish (cod, halibut) for scallops/shrimp
Whole30 - check the ingredients on the hot sauce or omit 

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