Nothing refreshes you in tropical climates like a cold ceviche. We were lucky enough to visit the W Resort in Bali last month where the famous sunset sessions are paired with electronic beats, overstuffed couches, exceptional service, and ice-cold drinks. Inspired by the ocean, their bar is designed to symbolize a giant wave in action on the beach, an artistic architecture of curvaceous raw concrete that adds to the spectacular vistas on the shore. Being that close to the equator, you’re constantly warm (ok sweating), the breezes are welcome and the cool drinks go down easily. J was there to DJ so they invited us to have some drinks and bites after we arrived.
Watching the sunset, we sampled our ceviche which was a bright and creamy combo of tuna, red peppers, chiles, and lime served with crispy chips. It was delicious and the backdrop of this Bali ceviche was worth all those miles we flew and perfectly paired with
a ok a few chile mojitos.
However, we have to admit we have our favorite version. It’s typically a tomato base, lime, chock full of shrimp, cilantro, hot sauce and best eaten with Saltines crushed on top and devoured with a spoon. We once learned the recipe of J’s all time favorite spicy and sweet ceviche from a small Cuban restaurant (now closed) in Chicago’s Logan Square neighborhood. We asked their manager for the recipe after we saw he’d been knocking a few too many back. He winked at us and started rattling off the recipe as I furiously typed it into the notes section of an old phone. Alas, the phone later took a swim, the recipe to forever remain a mystery.
Here’s a recipe for an awesome shrimp ceviche by Rick Bayless.
- 1 quart salted water
- 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
- 1 generous pound unpeeled small shrimp (about 41 to 50 count to a pound)
- 1/2 medium white onion, chopped into 1/4-inch pieces
- 1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro, plus several sprigs for garnish
- 1/2 cup ketchup
- 1 to 2 tablespoons vinegary Mexican bottled hot sauce (such as Tamazula, Valentina or Bufalo)
- About 2 tablespoons olive oil, preferably extra-virgin (optional, but smooths out sharpness)
- 1 cup peeled, diced cucumber or jicama (or 1/2 cup each)
- 1 small ripe avocado, peeled, pitted and cubed
- Several lime slices, for garnish
- Saltine crackers, for serving
Cooking and marinating the shrimp:
Bring 1 quart salted water to a boil and add 2 tablespoons of the lime juice. Add shrimp, cover and return to a boil. Immediately remove from heat, set pot lid askew and pour off all liquid. Replace lid and set aside, letting shrimp steam in closed pot for 10 minutes. Spread out shrimp in large glass or stainless steel bowl to cool completely. Peel shrimp (and devein, if desired). Toss shrimp with remaining 1/2 cup lime juice, cover and refrigerate for about 1 hour.
The flavorings: In a small strainer, rinse chopped onion under cold water, then shake off excess liquid. Add to shrimp bowl along with chopped cilantro, ketchup, hot sauce, optional olive oil, cucumber and/or jicama and avocado. Mix gently, taste and season with salt, usually about 1/2 teaspoon. Cover and refrigerate up to a few hours, or serve immediately. Serving the ceviche: Spoon the ceviche into sundae glasses, martini glasses or small bowls. Garnish with sprigs of cilantro and slices of lime. Serve with saltines or tortilla chips.