I’m contributing this post not because sister of the traveling knickers has been to Guatemala recently...or at all..but because I have experienced it and feel the need to share. Also, my foodie son and his foodie wife were here to visit and I wanted to show off. Be ready, this is truly a show off dish for visitors, though best suited for summer heat.
There are as many recipes for ceviche as there are cooks that make it. Peru is considered the birthplace of ceviche and, hence, considers ceviche it's national dish. This theory is supported with evidence of similar food types found in archeology digs, some 2000 years old.
Over time and via Spanish Conquistadors, the recipe gradually traveled the Americas. Now considered an international cuisine, ceviche can be found in the grandest restaurants or the most obscure diners. I have ordered this dish anywhere I’ve seen it served and while some are quite nice, none beat the Guatemalan recipe.
Ceviche is a seafood dish derived from fresh raw fish, cured In Citrus juice and served with a variety of vegetables. It can have the consistency of gazpacho or be akin to a dense chopped salad.
My recipe, taken and developed from the American Women’s League, or some such name....34 years ago...has the vividness of a gazpacho but wows with flavour. While I no longer have that cookbook, I have the recipe page, tucked in a copper pot with my other special recipes.
I’ve also made it easier for the finicky (my children) by cooking the shrimp I use in the recipe and eliminating the curing stage. Though not authentic, it will still be a winning dish.
WARNING: This is a 'taste as you go' recipe
1 pound shrimp, clean, deveined and cooked as package directs. Tails removed
Then cut in two or three nice bite pieces
2 cans 15 oz. diced tomatoes...mine were 14.5 oz but doesn’t matter, get two cans. No, get three cans, for just in case.
2 cups lime juice, do not use key lime juice or sweetened for the bar lime juice
2 jalapeños, finely diced.....but do one first and wait on the other.
1 bay leaf, crumbled
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium onion, diced
4-5 stalks of celery, diced
1 red or green pepper, diced
1 TBSP chopped parsley or cilantro, more if desired
1 TBSP Worcestershire sauce
1/2 TBSP Tabasco our preferred hot sauce
1/2-1 TBSP sugar
1TBSP. fresh oregano, crumbled
salt and pepper to taste...be gentle on the salt
In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for a few hours or overnight for best results. Taste. The flavours will develop the longer it sits ( of course within the logical limits of fresh ingredients...)
As the flavours develop, the lime and the jalapeño can become overwhelming. Start with one jalapeño and one cup of lime juice, wait a few hours, taste then add half of another pepper and a 1/2C of juice. I usually end there but some folks may want more pucker. If you overdo, add that third can of tomatoes.
The ceviche should be thicker than gazpacho, thinner than salsa and not a chopped salad.
The recipe makes enough for six, or even better, served as an appetiser or buffet inclusion. In Guatemala it is served in glass sundae cups with lemon wedges and saltine crackers. The crackers are a must, the lemon is not.
Serve cold or at room temp.