Thinking of Our Gulf Coast Fishermen
Back at Open Salon they are having a contest for shrimp recipes in support of our fishermen along the Gulf Coast who are about to be hit by a horrible catastrophe.
I submitted a family recipe.
For a change of pace, instead of politics, I thought I’d share that family recipe with TMV readers. But first some background.
Several of my relatives in my native country of Ecuador are in the shrimp business, but we don’t call them fishermen, but rather “fish farmers.”
You see, unlike our friends in the Gulf, they don’t venture out to sea, but rather they “cultivate” shrimp in huge man-made, salt water ponds or lagoons at the edge of the Pacific Ocean. (See photo above taken by NASA along the Ecuadorean coast)
From the time the shrimp larvae are introduced into the ponds until the mature shrimp are harvested, processed and marketed it is between three and four months.
Ecuadorean shrimp farmers are sympathetic to the disaster that threatens to hit their counterparts in the Gulf as a result of the BP Oil spill, as the Ecuadorean shrimp farmers have also faced many a disaster in the form of diseases caused by viruses which can wipe out an entire shrimp “crop,” and have also suffered serious setbacks caused by climate and weather anomalies.
Shrimp is one of the most important exports of Ecuador and the largest importer of Ecuadorean shrimp is the United States.
While shrimp is prepared in the U.S. in many ways—as I am sure the recipes submitted to Open Salon will reflect—the favorite way of consuming shrimp in Ecuador is in the delicious “ceviche” form.
In the “real” fish ceviche, the fish is “cooked” by the citrus juices used in preparing the dish. That’s why it is critical that the fish be fresh. (The shrimp ceviche recipe below calls for cooked shrimp.)
Here’s a traditional family recipe for the enjoyment of our readers, Ceviche de Camarón (Shrimp Ceviche), one of South America’s best kept secrets and one that is becoming increasingly popular in the U.S. and around the world:
2 pounds of medium to large shrimp—do not peel yet.
2 cloves of garlic
1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 cups freshly squeezed orange juice, preferably from sour oranges
1 large red onion, sliced thin
2 medium tomatoes cut into small squares
2 table spoons fresh chopped parsley or cilantro
3 ounces tomato ketchup
12 ounces of a lager beer
Salt and pepper to taste
Tabasco to taste
In a large pan, boil 2 1/2 quarts of water along with 12 oz. of beer, garlic and salt and pepper.
After it comes to a broiling boil add shrimp all at once. Make sure the shrimp are totally covered in liquid. After the water returns to a boil, cook for two to three minutes until shrimp become bright pink. Do not overcook.
Note: Many people cook the shrimp with the heads on as head contributes to a richer flavor.
Immediately drain into a colander—do not rinse shrimp—and let shrimp cool. When cool, shell, devein and if desired cut shrimps in half. Put in refrigerator.
In small saucepan put half of the lime and orange juice, salt and pepper and the sliced red onion. Bring to a boil and cook for a couple of minutes until the onions become pink in color. Do not drain, let cool.
In a large bowl, mix the tomatoes, parsley or cilantro, ketchup, Tabasco, salt and pepper with the remainder of orange juice and lime juice and add the cooled-off red onion mix.
Add shrimp, mix well and let marinate in the refrigerator for a couple of hours, but no more than six hours.
Serves 4 to 6.
Serve as you would shrimp cocktail in elegant glasses or in simple bowls with a side dish of popcorn or “tostado” (corn nuts) and of course a glass of good Ecuadorean cerveza Pilsener.
And, once again, wishing our fisherman along the Gulf Coast Good Luck and God Bless.
Serving Image: Courtesy www.latarde.ecu