For those that understand a little Spanish, you know that this dish is HOT. Camarones en aguachile is a Mexican ceviche where raw shrimp is marinated in a chile-lime juice mixture, or aguachile (“chile water”). Like most ceviches it is prepared with few ingredients and uses the magic of acid to “cook” the protein.
Ceviche is popular throughout the world especially in South America, Mexico and the Caribbean, basically anywhere you can get fresh seafood. It's unclear where this method of preparing seafood originated from but most say from the northern coast of South America. Regional interpretations of ceviche incorporate the local seafood, everything from fish to octopus to scallops can be “ceviched” or cooked in an acidic liquid. The key is using the freshest ingredients possible. In Peru, sashimi grade fish is used and just lightly cooked in citrus juice so the interior is still kept raw, a beautiful way to enjoy top notch fish.
Camarones en aguachile is made from serrano chiles blended with lime juice, giving the dish intense heat and fresh chile flavor. It's served with avocados and crispy toastadas, which helps to round out the heat. Generally, shrimp ceviche recipes will instruct you to cook your shrimp first and then marinate it in the mixture, which is a safeguard against little micro-nasties. Cooking shrimp or fish with heat instead of acid gives the meat an entirely different texture however. I've never personally known anyone to make it this way nor have I ever gotten sick from this method, so as long as you know your shrimp is fresh I say you're fine using raw shrimp. Made with the freshest of shrimp, camarones en aguachile in Mexico is served immediately after pouring a few spoonfuls of lime juice over it. In this recipe, I've let it sit for a couple of hours so the shrimp is “cooked” through.
Either way, this ceviche is perfect on a hot summer day when the last thing you want to do is spend hours cooking over a hot stove. Oh, and cold beer is required.
- 1 lb of medium sized shrimp, shelled and de-veined
- 1 cup of fresh lime juice (about 6-8 limes)
- 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
- 3 serranos*
- kosher or sea salt
*If you don't want this ceviche as hot, deseed your chile pepper before blending them, just make sure to remove the seeds and white parts.
Slice the stems off your serranos and down the middle. Place them in a blender or food processor with the lime juice and a pinch of salt. Blend until a smooth, its okay if there are little bits of serrano.
Slice the shrimp down the middle so there are two moon shapes. You will likely have to go in and remove another vein with a small paring knife after splitting them.
Place the shrimp in a non-reactive bowl and pour the lime serrano mixture over the shrimp. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least two hours, mixing a couple times in between. Toss with the sliced onions and serve over tostadas and top with sliced avocado.