I had this ceviche while lying on a secluded beach just outside Tulum. I had been driving for weeks and hadn’t taken a day off, so I decided to get an Airbnb for the weekend, and I gave myself one beach day. I rented a cabana, ate ceviches, and swam all afternoon. It was one of the best days of my life.
The flavors of this ceviche were incredible, but what was most surprising was the burnt habanero chile oil drizzled on top. Its heat and bitterness cut through the bright and sweet flavors—it was at once sweet, spicy, and refreshing—in essence, everything I wanted at that moment.
3 tablespoons virgin coconut oil or extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium white onion (14 oz/398 g), sliced into thin rings Morton kosher salt
2 pounds (907 g) large shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 cups watermelon (10.1 oz/304 g), cut into ½-inch pieces
1 medium cucumber (7.09 oz/201 g), halved and thinly sliced
1/3 cup coconut milk
¼ cup fresh lime juice (about 2 limes)
3 tablespoons finely chopped lemongrass (inner reed only), lemon balm, or mint
Aceite de Habanero Quemado
Totopos or baked or fried Tostadas de Maíz
1. In a medium skillet over medium-high heat, heat the oil. Add the onion and ¼ teaspoon salt (0.07 oz/2 g) and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is translucent, for about 2 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-low and continue to cook, stirring frequently, until the onion is soft, caramelized, and golden brown, for about 12 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside to cool completely.
2. In a medium bowl, toss the shrimp, watermelon, cucumber, coconut milk, lime juice, lemongrass, and ¾ teaspoon salt (0.17 oz/5 g) until all are well coated. Let sit for 5 minutes, then gently stir in the cooled caramelized onions. Divide the shrimp mixture among four plates. Drizzle aciete de habanero quemado over top and serve with totopos or tostades.
Reprinted with permission from Mi Cocina: Recipes and Rapture from My Kitchen in Mexico by Rick Martinez copyright © 2022. Photographs copyright © 2022 by Ren Fuller. Published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, an imprint of Penguin Random House.
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