Ceviche scares quite a lot of us (and possibly the idea of ‘prawn ceviche’ is even worse), but today let’s aim to change that. Ceviche is a little out of the ordinary and given that we are evolutionarily programmed to not eat foods we are unsure of it makes total sense. Even if you are a big fish fan, taking something you ordinarily cook and entrusting some fruit juices and acidity to do the same job you normally require a pan and fire for can be a stretch. But branch out, because ceviche is delicious. It’s easy to make – trust me, you’ll know if it’s not right – and people have been making it like this for years.
Often food like this comes from seeing another part of the world, and so it is here. I’d had ceviche a few times before on holidays, but a couple of years ago I got to go to Peru. There we ate a variation of ceviche on so many days it’s hard to remember them all. That adventure resulted in one of my favourite cookbooks – the wonderful Peru: The Cookbook. I almost bought the Spanish version in Lima but held out for the translation later on (my Spanish is far from great). Its cover is bright and vibrant, like the dress of the country it represents, and with over 20 different variations on ceviche, it’s hard to know where to start.
But here is a simple version – one that is perfect for lunchtime, or maybe as a starter if you’re out to impress.
The whole premise is simple, and with the prawns being chopped up so small the citric acid works on them pretty fast (if you’re still scared, there are pre-cooked versions you could use the first time round to get the taste).
This dish is all about fresh flavours. From the prawns to the avocado, the lime to the chilli. It’s a combination of sweetness, sharpness and heat to balance out the cooling lime.
It’s not going to make you physically transport to Peru, but for a summery lunch that has the option to let you soak up the sun and let your mind drift to a land of Incas, temples and mountaintop civilisations, this is where it is at.
This is a great summer lunch recipe – it’s light but also filling. It’s balanced and offers you all the joy of both ceviche and avocado, what more could you ask for? If you don’t eat it in the first sitting, it will last for a couple of days if sealed in the fridge, but is best fresh. Serves 2.
- 1 large avocado
- 150g prawns
- 1 lime
- 50ml orange juice
- 1/2 tsp chilli flakes
- 1 spring onion
- 1 tbsp chopped coriander
- salt and pepper
Start by chopping up the prawns into chunks (just roughly) and putting them in a sealable dish – I use a pyrex one like this one. Into this dish add the chilli flakes, lime juice, half the orange juice and a pinch of salt. Cut the spring onion down the middle lengthwise, then slice so you get thin half-moon shapes. Chop the coriander roughly. Add the spring onion and coriander into the dish and mix so the prawns are totally covered. Leave to sit for 15 minutes.
Cut the avocado in half and remove the stone.
Once the prawns are ready, stir through the remaining orange juice and spoon into the avocado halves.
Serve straight away with a slice of lime and more coriander scattered on top.
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