Feasting at Home : Shrimp Ceviche Verde

September 16, 2012

Shrimp Ceviche Verde

This refreshing appetizer, couldn't be simpler or more delicious. Shrimp ( or prawns) are paired with tomatillo, cucumber, cilantro, chilies and lime and can be served up in shot glasses, for an upscale affair, or more casual and down home feel- simply served a bowl with tortilla chips. Either way, they are a home run. 

The star of this recipe is the tomatillo.  Covered in a delicate paper-like husk, the bright green tomatoey looking fruit may go completely unnoticed, unless you happen to pick one up and take a closer look under its skin.

Haven't you found with most things, people too for that matter,  that when you stop and really pay attention, and look deeply, it's pretty impossible to not see beauty.

Tomatillos are often considered the "Mexican Tomato".  They originate from Mexico and are popular in Mexican sauces and in salsas. They are in the nightshade family, are technically a fruit and are a distant cousin to our tomato, but really, they are more closely related to a cape gooseberry.

Tomatillos have a refreshing lemony tartness that adds brightness to fresh salsa and ceviche.  In the past I have mostly grilled or roasted them, in order to somehow deepen the flavor or tone them down. In retrospect, I feel I have done them a disservice. Trying to change them and fit them into my idea of how they ought to taste,  I failed in seeing their true beauty. 

I am reminded of how good it feels when someone sees you. Truly sees you.  What a gift it is.

At the beginning of the summer, my friend Kate, opened my eyes and mind to the fresh flavor of tomatillos. She made a fresh tomatillo salsa and brought it to a Mexican themed dinner party. I practically drank from the bowl. She gave me the recipe (which I will include) and I have been playing around with it and enjoying it all summer long. 

It eventually morphed into this easy Prawn Ceviche Verde.

Over the summer we served this appetizer at various events and they seemed to be a hit. They are gluten free, low in fat, and really high in flavor and nutrients. And on a hot day, they are cooling and refreshing. I realize, summer is just about over, but I wanted to slip this one in..... before fall.

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Prawn Ceviche Verde

  • 1 lb Cooked and Peeled Prawns, thawed, tails removed and cut into chunks
  • 1 1/2 lb Tomatillos, husked, rinsed and cut into big chunks
  • 2  cucumbers, peeled, 1 cut into big chunks, 1 finely diced.
  • 1 whole bunch cilantro ( 1 cup)
  • 3 T lime juice plus zest for garnish
  • 1 jalapeno (or more for spicy)
  • 1/3 cup sliced onion
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 T olive oil

In batches, place all ingredients except the prawns and the 1 finely diced cucumber into a food processor. Pulse until finely chopped. Place in a bowl and add prawns and cucumber. Taste for salt. Taste for lime. You could add more. 

Makes about 6 cups, enough for 24 people to have a 1/4 cup serving. Garnish with lime zest, edible flowers.

Tip: You could make this ahead, for example the day before, but wait to add the prawns until 1/2 hour before serving.

Here is the Tomatillo Salsa recipe Kate made that I am in love with:

Tomatillo Salsa Verde
from Mark Miller'sThe Great Salsa Book

  • 1 lb tomatillos  husked, rinsed and roughly chopped
  • 3 serrano chiles, with seeds
  • 3/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves (1 bunch)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Place all ingredients in a food processor or blender, and puree.
yield: about 2 cups


  1. I love the shot with the tomatillo's skirt over its head. Reminds me of a little girl all decked out in a fancy party dress!

  2. This looks fantastic, I look forward to making it! Beautiful pictures and recipes. Aloha,