Adventures in Southwest Cooking: Shrimp Ceviche

Ceviche is a Peruvian-inspired cuisine in which fresh meat or seafood is marinated in a citrus mixture.  Recipes for ceviche typically call for raw meat or seafood, and the citrus content of the sauce functions to denature the proteins in the meat, thus creating an effect as if the meat were cooked.  With fresh shrimp being difficult to find in the land-locked desert that is New Mexico, this particular recipe uses frozen shrimp.


Shrimp Ceviche (from the Santa Fe School of Cooking's Flavors of the Southwest):

SERVES 14

Ingredients:
2 pounds frozen shrimp, thawed, peeled and deveined
Olive oil
1 medium white onion, finely chopped
1 cup chile sauce or ketchup
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 cup pimiento-stuffed green olives, chopped
 Pickled serrano or jalapeno chiles, to taste, chopped
Juice from the can of pickled chiles to taste
1 tablespoons Worchestershire sauce
1 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano
Juice of 2 fresh oranges
Juice of 2 fresh limes
Salt to taste

Instructions:
1.  Split the shrimp in half lengthwise and set aside.
2.  Heat the oil in a large saute pan over high heat.  Saute the shrimp in batches until just cooked.  Set aside to cool.
3.  Place the remaining ingredients in a large bowl and mix well.  Salt to taste, and then stir in the shrimp.  Flavors and textures are at their peak within 3 hours of making this dish, so plan accordingly.  Serve with a wedge of lime and soda crackers.


I loved the flavors of this ceviche, especially the cilantro with the orange-lime citrus mixture.  I served this as an appetizer for my Mardi Gras dinner.  It was delicious and easy to make.

Anyone wondering what is the difference between Mexican oregano and Mediterranean oregano?
According to the Santa Fe School of Cooking's Flavors of the Southwest, "Mexican oregano is actually of the verbena family and not directly related to Greek or Italian oregano that is more commonly seen in most of the United States.  Though not a true oregano, Mexican oregano is native to Mexico, Guatemala and parts of South America.  It has a unique sweetness and intensity, but seems to be less pungent than other varieties of oregano.  It is used dry because it lacks flavor when fresh."



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