Ceviche and how to peel shrimp like a Hawaiian

by April on August 30, 2011

When I peel shrimp, I think of Uncle Johnny.

Actually my great uncle, and Hawaiian, I was eight years old and helping him peel shrimp in his Los Angeles home when he stopped me.

“You’re throwing away good meat,” he said. He picked up one of my discards, pulling at the tail fins and twisting the shell. There, under the telson, the small pointed section at the tip of the shell, was meat I had tossed aside.

I felt such pride when I was able to replicate his technique and earned a nod of approval. From that moment I haven’t peeled shrimp without endeavoring to leave the tail meat attached.

Which brings me to this shrimp ceviche. It’s everything you could ask for in a summer meal — seafood, cilantro, lime, avocado, tomatoes at their best — and the only equipment it requires is a chef’s knife and cutting board. An added bonus? You’ll get to practice your shrimp peeling skills.

Family tensions effectively ended my relationship with Uncle Johnny. But when I peel shrimp, I don’t think of the man who didn’t let us say goodbye to my aunt. I think of chocolate-covered macadamia nuts, train tickets to Hawaii, and the sunny afternoon when he taught me how to peel shrimp like an islander.

Shrimp Ceviche

You’ll need:

  • 1 pound shrimp, peeled, deveined, and chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • 2/3 cup fresh lime juice
  • 2 cups tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 2 green serrano chiles, seeded and minced
  • 3 small avocados, sliced into bite-sized pieces
  • 3/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 cup finely diced red or white onion (rinse and dry after dicing)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon of olive oil
  • 1 cucumber, diced (or jicama or a combination of the two)
  • Cholula Original Hot Sauce to taste (I pour with abandon.)
  • salt to taste
  1. Combine shrimp and lime juice in a large nonreactive bowl (glass, stainless steel, ceramic) and refrigerate for one hour.
  2. Add all other ingredients to bowl and mix well. Cover and refrigerate for 1 to 15 hours.
  3. Spoon ceviche into bowls or glasses, garnish with cilantro, and serve with tortilla chips.

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: