Move over ceviche - here is your cousin Aguachile! All over the world there is a newfound love for seafood cocktails. Everybody knows ceviche, whether it is Peruvian or Mexican, but what exactly is Aguachile? Deliciously tangy and spicy, this semi-raw shrimp dish makes you feel like there’s a party in your mouth! All you need is a beer or Mezcal to complete the picture.
But let’s back up a bit... Aguachiles were born in the Pacific coast of Mexico, specifically in the areas of Sonora and Sinaloa, where shrimp and seafood is ultra fresh and brought in with the catch every single day. In a perfect world, we would make this dish with the freshest shrimp straight off the boat.
Unless you live on the coast and have access to that kind of freshness, we all have to use frozen shrimp. It’s OK, your Aguachile will still be delicious. The trick is to use small shrimp, no larger than 31/40’s. The smaller shrimp are best since this dish is served within minutes or preparation, and the shrimp will be almost raw. Smaller shrimp, therefore, will “cook” in the lime juice a bit faster than larger ones.
You can make Aguachile with fish or scallops, or whatever you fancy. Just remember, this is a dish where the food is eaten almost raw, so make sure you get sushi quality fish, or high quality seafood.
Aguachiles can be white or red, depending on the ingredients used. The basic and original aguachiles are white, with lime juice, Serrano and piquín chiles making up the sauce. Red aguachiles have the same ingredients as the white, but they also include bottled red salsa or dried chiles.
I love cilantro, so I incorporated it in the sauce, making this a beautiful green aguachile. Delicious and spicy, this is the perfect party dish for sharing. Serve it with corn tostadas and have plenty of beer available in case your guests think it’s too spicy!
Aguachile de Camarón al Cilantro
Shrimp Aguachile with Cilantro
Juice of 4 large limes, enough to make 1/2 cup juice
1 lb 31/40 shrimp, peeled, deveined and butterflied
1 small serrano chile, chopped
1/2 cup tightly packed cilantro, stems and leaves
1 tsp kosher salt, or to taste
½ English cucumber, sliced thin
¼ small red onion, thinly sliced
Tostadas or corn chips, to serve
Place butterflied shrimp on a large plate. Cover with fresh lime juice and let sit for 10-30 minutes, depending on how “cooked” you like them.
When they are done to your liking, drain shrimp and pour the lime juice into blender container. Add cilantro, Serrano chile and 1 tsp kosher salt. Process until very smooth. Taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary.
On serving platter, arrange cucumber slices around the edges of the plate, mound shrimp in the centre and red onions around the shrimp. Spoon enough lime mixture over shrimp and vegetables. There should be enough liquid on the bottom, but the shrimp should not be “swimming” in liquid.
Garnish with cilantro leaves and serve with tostadas or chips.
This recipe was first published at www.thelatinkitchen.com