Dawn Viola is a research and development chef and food writer. She serves on the board of directors for Slow Food Orlando, and works with local and national companies as a healthy recipe consultant with a focus on organic, local and sus...
Elegant doesn't have to be complicated. In fact, it can be quick and easy when you let the flavors of the freshest, in-season foods shine through — like in this recipe for fresh avocado stuffed with succulent and spicy lime shrimp ceviche.
Ceviche can seem a little intimidating since it relies on acid to change the pH of food, essentially cooking it chemically rather than using heat. Blanching the shrimp for just a few seconds will take the scary out of the technique, allowing you to first par-cook and then to finish the process with a flavor-packed acid. The avocado itself makes a nifty serving bowl for the shrimp, keeping cleanup a breeze, and the entire recipe (start to finish) takes only 20 minutes. And since it's served chilled, it makes the perfect light lunch on a hot summer day.
Avocado and spicy lime shrimp ceviche recipe
20 small shrimp, peeled and deveined
3 limes, zested and juiced
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced
2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro
1/4 cup finely diced celery
1/4 cup finely diced radish
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 avocado, sliced in half lengthwise, pit removed
1 cup chopped romaine
In a pot of salted boiling water, blanch shrimp for 30 seconds. Transfer shrimp to an ice bath, and let stand 15 seconds. Drain shrimp and transfer to a shallow bowl or baking dish, and set aside. In a small bowl, combine lime juice, honey, oil, garlic, jalapeño and cilantro. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Pour over shrimp. Cover and shake pan to coat shrimp. Refrigerate 10 minutes. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine mayonnaise and paprika. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
Dice avocado inside its shell by running a knife along the inside lengthwise and then across to make a checkerboard pattern, without cutting through the skin. Set aside.
Remove shrimp from refrigerator and uncover. Toss in celery, radish and lettuce. Spoon shrimp mixture into each avocado half. Top with paprika and mayo. Serve cold.
Air is the enemy of an avocado, turning it brown and downright ugly. Rubbing an acidic fruit, such as lemon or lime, over the exposed flesh won't completely prevent oxidation, but will buy you some time. When storing leftover avocado, use plastic wrap, pressing the wrap against the flesh of the avocado to prevent air from touching it.