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Shrimp Ceviche for Tostadas

I love Mexican street food especially fresh ceviche and tostadas.

This is a simple recipe that leans cocktail rather than ceviche and is adapted from Rick Bayless of Frontera Grill in Chicago. It is a beautiful dish that because of the large size of the shrimp works really well to serve on tostadas as a refreshing appetizer.

As with any ceviche-style recipe, fresh seafood is essential. For shrimp, frozen is always preferred unless you see it come off the boat or can hear a seagull. Fresh shrimp (and this also applies to defrosted frozen shrimp) should never have an ammonia smell or significant black spots on the body. They should be firm and easily peeled without falling apart.

When I lived in Galveston (and still today if I can find it) I purchased frozen shrimp in 5-lb blocks and either defrosted and cooked it all at one time, or I would run the block under cold water until I collected the shrimp I needed for a recipe and then returned the rest to the freezer. I always found that this shrimp tasted better – maybe because it was usually locally sourced – something I always recommend if possible. Most people though suggest that IQF – or individual quick frozen – shrimp is better for a home chef as the seafood often has less freezer damage and easily adapts to recipes.

Don’t be fooled by the fresh shrimp at your local grocery store. Almost all shrimp unless it specifically states differently has been frozen and then defrosted. Most shrimp is actually frozen on the boat when it comes out of the net. So if you see “fresh shrimp” on a label make sure you ask to hold and smell it from the seafood counter. Also, buy shrimp with shells-on and avoid pre-peeled or EZ-peeled varieties. They are usually handled more and will be more mangled. When the appearance is important in a recipe, then especially buy shell-on shrimp and cook and peel them yourself.

Finally, only buy “local”. Finding good information regarding the origin of shrimp is difficult. It may surprise you, but if a shrimp is altered in any way – de-veined, head removed, frozen, packaged, etc – then the USDA doesn’t require that the consumer or chef know where or how it was caught. In Texas I look for specific labeling for gulf shrimp and try to shop at seafood markets that work to provide sustainability.

There are two unique products here including Valentina Salsa Picante and tostadas. Valentina is a brand of Mexican hot sauce manufactured in Guadalajara where the state of Jalisco’s peppers are used to make this vinegary sauce. Tostadas are larger flat tortilla chips that are usually made from corn. Although they can be made at home by skillet frying fresh corn tortillas, they are easily purchased for convenience.

1 lb large shrimp, 21/25 count, shells-on

4 tbs olive oil, divided

1/2 cup lime juice, freshly squeezed

1 to 2 avocados, diced

1/2 cup onion, diced

1/2 cup jicama, diced

1/2 cup cucumber, peeled, and diced

1/2 cup cilantro, chopped

1/2 cup ketchup

2 tbs Valentina Salsa Picante

salt and black pepper to taste

Using kitchen shears, put one point down the back of the shrimp and make an incision to remove the dark line of the intestinal tract. Otherwise, leave the shells intact. Toss the shrimp with 2 tbs of olive oil.

Place a sheet pan covered in aluminum foil in the oven on the top shelf and preheat on broil. When the pan is very hot, remove it carefully from the oven and spray lightly with non-stick spray. Then lay out the shrimp in a single layer and return to the oven for 2 to 2 1/2 minutes. Remove the tray and flip the shrimp over and return it to the oven for 1 to 1 1/2 minutes more. Be careful not to overcook. Remove the tray from the oven for the final time and place the shrimp on a cold tray or platter. Remove the shells and toss in the lime juice. Chill the shrimp in the refrigerator for 1 hour.

Remove the shrimp and add the avocado, onion, jicama, cilantro, ketchup, Valentina Salsa Picante, remaining olive oil, salt, and pepper. Gently toss to combine and adjust the seasonings. Garnish with cilantro and lime wedges and serve with tostadas.

#ceviche #tostadas #valentina #shrimp

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Dan McCoy