Cooking with Beaver: Ceviche for a Beach Day

BY BEN VERHILLE | MARCH 28, 2013 5:00 AM

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During spring break, I lived a dream … I was blissfully spending my days under the warm sun in some tropical paradise, eating only the finest cuisine and drinking the tastiest of drinks. The paradise reminded me of who I am and what really mattered. Nothing could ruin the Nirvana.

Then I woke up to this frozen tundra of Iowa.

Seriously, how can I go on in this blanket of snow after being in paradise? Can I just go back to spring break?

The closest thing I can find for you boys and girls is some food from a warmer climate. I was fortunate enough to find a dish that has been a favorite of mine since I went to Peru, and I was lucky enough to have return to my taste buds on this trip. And I found it in Iowa City.

Ceviche — a dish that has been a staple in the diets of Central and South American countries for years and a delicacy that is a rarity for the natives of the Midwest — is a general term for cold cooking fish or seafood in a marinade of lime juice. I say cold cooking, because this dish is one that is exclusively served cold.

Lime juice alters the structure of the fish, or in this case, shrimp.

Preferred as a hangover cure in the morning, this fresh and healthy tasting plate brings you to your happy place.

My first experience with this cold dish was from a ceviche enthusiast who had me drink the leftover marinade and juices from a glass. This is called the "leche de tigre," or tiger's milk.

This ceviche recipe calls for a wide array of ingredients such as avocado, cucumber, cilantro, serrano peppers, lemon and lime juice, red onion, and shrimp.

It can get a little dicey, so make sure you take care of your workstation, fingers, and food. Don't cross contaminate, and be careful using all those knives.

Remember to save the leftover juices, it could help you turn a crappy weekend morning into a productive one. Just remember to brush your teeth; the onions are very potent.

1 lb. medium-size shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 Tbsp. salt
3/4 cup lime juice (about 6 limes)
3/4 cup lemon juice (about 4 lemons)
1 cup chopped red onion
1 serrano chile, no ribs or seeds
1 cup of chopped cilantro (one bunch)
1 cucumber (peeled and diced)
1 avocado (peeled and diced, seed removed)

1. Boil about 4 quarts of water with the salt. Add the shrimp and cook for no more than 2 minutes. Shock the shrimp by putting them into a bowl of ice water.

2. Cut into small pieces (2-3 per piece of shrimp) and place into glass bowl. Add the lemon and lime juice, cover and chill for about 30 minutes.

3. Add the chopped onion and serrano, chill for another 30 minutes.

4. Add cilantro, cucumber, avocado, stir, and serve.

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