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Shrimp and Melon “Ceviche” Recipe

I am obsessed with ceviche and I order it all the time at my local Mexican restaurant as an appetizer or as a light dinner. I was in Mexico last fall and had the most amazing sweet and spicy ceviche made from local white fish, mango, avocado and I couldn’t stop thinking about how you can truly combine any fish with a juicy seasonal fruit + lime juice + onion + a spicy ingredient and it’s just addictive.  Ceviche is normally made with raw seafood and the citrus juice “cooks” the fish which denatures the protein networks, similar to cooking with heat. That’s why the color changes to opaque and the flesh gets firmer after sitting in a citrus marinade.  Here’s the deal – you need to be 100% confident that you are starting with the freshest of fresh seafood because no amount of lime juice is going to obliterate parasites and other nastiness.  So, when I make ceviche at home, I give the seafood a quick cook!  You can choose to get sushi grade fish and not precook it of course.

Why you’ll love this recipe

  • It’s a refreshing twist on regular ceviche
  • It’s a light and healthy option for a summer hors d’oeuvres with chips
  • Or it can be served as a first course or main dish
  • It’s chilled, so it’s perfect for hot summer days
  • Plant-based alternative in the notes

Shrimp and Melon Ceviche Ingredients

  • Shrimp: I prefer using wild shrimp here. You’ll need about 1 pound and any size is fine. If you have a full service seafood department at your local market, you can ask the fishmonger to peel and devein the shrimp. You may want to call in advance if that’s the only thing you’re picking up so you don’t have to wait at the store.  
  • Red onion: gives a nice pretty color and is milder than other onions. Feel free to use shallot or even scallions if that’s what you have. 
  • Lime juice: I prefer using fresh squeezed lime juice than using juice from concentrate. You’ll need about 3 limes for this recipe. 
  • Melon: I like to use honeydew or cantaloupe, but any orange or white fleshy melon works great
  • Cucumber: I prefer using Persian cucumbers because the skin is thin and the seeds are minimal
  • Spicy element: provides a nice flavor boost. You can add 2 big pinches of crushed red pepper or use a fresh pepper, such as a jalapeño, serrano, or Fresno chile (seeded and diced). 
  • Cilantro: is a popular ingredient in ceviche. If you don’t like it, feel free to use fresh mint instead. 

How to Make Shrimp and Melon Ceviche

  1. Prepare an ice water bath for the shrimp by placing ice in a large bowl filled with cold water.
  2. Bring a medium saucepan of water to a boil over high heat. Drop in the shrimp and cook for 1-3 minutes, depending on size of shrimp. Drain and immediately transfer to the ice water to stop cooking. Leave in the water for about 4-5 minutes. Drain and pat dry. Cut into bite size pieces. 
  3. Combine the shrimp with all of the ingredients 30 minutes before serving, except for the cilantro. Taste for seasoning and refrigerate until cold. Garnish with cilantro before serving.

Tips for Making Shrimp and Melon Ceviche

  • To tame the harshness of raw onion, soak the pieces in the lime juice for at least 10 minutes before combining with the other ingredients. 
  • I prefer not to combine the ingredients for the ceviche more than an hour in advance because the lime juice can overcook the shrimp if made too far in advance. 
  • This can also be a first course served in a pretty glass or in a small bowl lines with a lettuce leaf. 

 

Substitutions for Shrimp and Melon Ceviche

  • Shrimp – use hearts of palm (sliced or pulsed in a food processor) for a plant-based option or bite-size chunks of a mild white fish like halibut. It’s up to you if you want to poach the fish first or leave it raw.
  • Red onion – use scallions if you don’t have red onion or shallot
  • Cilantro – fresh mint
  • Melon – mango, peach, nectarine all taste great in ceviche
  • Chips – you can serve with butter lettuce leaves instead

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Shrimp and Melon Ceviche
Serves: 4
 
Ingredients
  • 1 pound peeled and deveined (wild) raw shrimp, any size, defrosted if frozen
  • ¼ cup diced red onion or shallot (use scallions if you don’t have red onion or shallot)
  • 6-8 Tablespoons fresh lime juice, about 3 limes
  • 1 cup diced melon such as honeydew or cantaloupe
  • 1 cup seeded, diced cucumber (I like the Persian cucumbers because the skin is thin and the seeds are minimal)
  • Big pinch of sea salt
  • Spicy element: 2 big pinches crushed red pepper or ½ or 1 whole jalapeno, serrano or fresno chile, seeded and diced
  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro
  • Serving suggestions: plantain chips, tortilla chips, large jicama slices, endive leaves, lettuce leaves
Instructions
  1. Prepare an ice water bath for the shrimp by placing ice in a large bowl filled with cold water.
  2. Bring a medium saucepan of water to a boil over high heat. Drop in the shrimp and cook for 1-3 minutes, depending on size of shrimp. Drain and immediately transfer to the ice water to stop cooking. Leave in the water for about 4-5 minutes. Drain and pat dry. Cut into bite size pieces.
  3. Combine the shrimp with all of the ingredients 30 minutes before serving, except for the cilantro. Taste for seasoning and refrigerate until cold. Garnish with cilantro before serving.
Notes
if you want to tame the harshness of raw onion, soak the pieces in the lime juice for at least 10 minutes before combining with the other ingredients.
This can also be a first course served in a pretty glass or in a small bowl lined with a lettuce leaf.
Use hearts of palm (sliced or pulsed in a food processor) in place of the shrimp for a plant-based option.

 

 

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Comments

2 Comments

  1. Hello,
    Which local Mexican restaurant do you order ceviche?
    Thank you

    • Esperanza in Manhattan Beach. It’s pricey, but super delicious!


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I come from a large Italian-American family with 28 first cousins (on one side of the family!) where sit-down holiday dinners for 85 people are the norm (how, you might ask – organization! But more on that later …).

Some of my fondest memories are of simple family gatherings, both large and small, with long tables of bowls and platters piled high, the laughter of my cousins echoing and the comfort of tradition warming my soul.

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