Belizean Shrimp Ceviche

By Jamie Peterson

The other night I made Shrimp Ceviche, a recipe from the Leaders from the Kitchen cookbook (page 33). I was fortunate enough to first taste Shrimp Ceviche in San Pedro, Belize and didn’t think there was any way I could recreate the bold flavors that accompany this dish, especially being in Wisconsin and not having access to fresh shrimp. Much to my surprise, the ceviche turned out delicious, even with using store bought shrimp. My boyfriend (a huge shrimp fan and somewhat particular eater) loved the dish and the best part is that the recipe yielded enough for both of us to have for dinner and lunch the next day!

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To make the shrimp ceviche, you will need the following ingredients:

½ pound raw, cleaned shrimp, tails removed

2 cups tomatoes, diced

1 large onion, diced

½ red bell pepper

12 sprigs cilantro, chopped

1 habanero pepper, minced

Juice of 5 limes

Salt to taste

The red pepper and habanero aren’t pictured here, as I forgot to add them to the shot, but both are essential ingredients in completing this dish. I’ll be honest and say that I have a weak stomach and didn’t include the habanero pepper in my dish, but if you can handle the kick, I highly recommend including the habanero in yours. I did chop some up for my boyfriend, who loves spicy food and he really enjoyed the hotness the habanero brought to the dish.

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The first thing I did was chop up the shrimp and squeeze the juice of 5 limes over it in a bowl.  The acidity in the lime juice “cooks” the shrimp until it turns pink. The shrimp I used was already cooked, but I wanted the shrimp to really soak up the tangy lime flavor so I “cooked” it with the limes anyway. After the limes are squeezed, I placed the lime soaked shrimp in the fridge to marinate for about 20 minutes.

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While the shrimp is cooking, I chopped up the onion, red bell pepper, cilantro and tomato. If you have a food processor, you may want to use it for the onion and red bell pepper to save some time. The cilantro and tomato won’t work as well in the processor, as the tomatoes tend to get too mushy and the cilantro is too fine. I prefer roma tomatoes in this dish, but any will do. If you’re using a habanero pepper, this would also work well in the processor, although I’d just be sure to clean it out thoroughly afterwards.

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Chopping took about 20 minutes, so once I was done I mixed in the lime cooked shrimp right away. I used a spatula to gently mix the shrimp with the chopped vegetables and cilantro to avoid any potential over-stirring and mushiness. I added some salt to taste and served the ceviche in a bowl with some tortilla chips. We also had some corn and black beans leftover in the fridge so we tossed those in as well, which I really enjoyed. The recipe made about 4 servings, or 2 meals for 2 people (if you don’t manage to lick the bowl clean). It was easy, quick and fun to make and will be a staple dish for me this summer. It makes the perfect summer appetizer and worked great in tacos.

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I will definitely be making this again and will be sure to test out some of the other appetizers listed in the Leaders from the Kitchen Cookbook. Hope you try out this recipe and have as much fun as I did! Bon appetit!

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