I first had ceviche while visiting Mexico when very young.  Later, I learned to create the dish with everything from shrimp and scallops, to snapper and lobster.  The wonderful salted seafood and bright citrus make it a cool and refreshing dish to eat on hot summer nights and will become more mellow after marinating for a day or so.

This ceviche recipe is a quick and easy dish that can be served both as an appetizer and as a main course.  Traditional shrimp ceviche, a dish from the north pacific coast of Mexico, is served with the shrimp almost raw, marinated in water and lime juice for just a few minutes.  Although this style of ceviche is wonderful when you get fresh shrimp straight from the hands of the fish monger, I prefer a brief bath in heavily salted  and boiling water to cook the shrimp quickly but thoroughly, yet keeping them tender and juicy.

The grilled and lightly wilted escarole addition makes a wonderful contrast to the tart citrus as its flavors change dramatically with heat.  From a bitter and pungent chicory, escarole becomes nutty and buttery, a perfect place for our ceviche to bed. Often, chicories are under appreciated for their great flavor profile and their adaptability, experiment with cooking them quickly with various techniques and incorporating them into your everyday meals.

This recipe for ceviche will also work for fish, like snapper or halibut, as well as scallops big and small.  If adding a variety of seafood, use the traditional method and marinate in the juice of enough limes to cover the seafood half way.  Marinate for at least two hours, stirring every half hour.  This will allow the lime juice to cook the seafood thoroughly. Then drain most of the juice off, add the rest of your ingredients, mix and serve. For this recipe we’ll just use shrimp, cooked lightly and quickly marinated.

2 pounds shrimp, shelled and deveined

3 limes, juiced

2 lemons, juiced

1 oranges, juiced

1/2 red onion minced, scallions or shallots can also be substituted

1/2 cucumber, peeled, deseeded and diced

2 serrano chilies, deseeded and minced

1 avocado, diced

1/4 cup cilantro, chopped

2T extra virgin olive oil

1t hot sauce, Mexican style

Salt and pepper

1 head escarole, halved, for bedding

1T extra virgin olive oil

In 2 quarts boiling water, stir in 1/4 cup sea salt, add peeled and deveined shrimp.  Turn heat off and let shrimp sit in water for 2 minutes.  Drain in colander and spread on pan to cool.  Place in refrigerator to cool quickly.

In medium bowl add citrus juice, hot sauce, onion, cucumber and chilis.  When shrimp is cool, roughly chop and add to bowl.  Toss to incorporate and cover, return to refrigerator.

Lightly brush the interior of the escarole halves with oil. On a hot grill, or under a 500° broiler, place escarole halves, inside facing the heat source and cook until lightly browned and slightly wilted.  Let sit for one or two minutes then cut thinly in strips, toss in a small bowl with salt and pepper and a small amount of oil.

Remove shrimp mixture from fridge.  Add avocados, cilantro, olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Plate by nesting ceviche on a bed of escarole. Serve immediately to hungry people.

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