For this ceviche, author Presilla combines mild and slightly sweet aji dulce peppers with the vibrantly hot habanero to create an intensely flavored dish. Presilla makes a quick broth with the shrimp shells and poaches the shrimp in it briefly to give the ceviche a deeper, more savory flavor. If you can't find sour oranges, you can use a mixture of 1⁄2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice and 1⁄2 cup freshly squeezed lime juice instead.
Yield: serves 6
- 2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 <sup>1</sup>⁄<sub>2</sub> tsp. achiote seeds (optional)
- 4 sour oranges
- 30-35 medium shrimp (about 1 lb.), peeled and deveined, shells reserved
- 1 tbsp. whole allspice
- 6 sprigs cilantro, plus 2 tbsp. finely chopped
- Kosher salt, to taste
- <sup>1</sup>⁄<sub>4</sub> cup fresh lime juice
- 14 small ají dulce or orange or red habanero peppers, stemmed, seeded, and thinly sliced
- 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- <sup>1</sup>⁄<sub>2</sub> small red onion, thinly sliced
- 1 red habanero pepper, stemmed, seeded, and halved
- Heat the oil and achiote seeds in an 8" skillet over medium heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until the oil is red and fragrant, 4–5 minutes. Strain the oil through a sieve and set aside; discard the achiote seeds. (If you're not using achiote seeds, simply omit the preceding step and use the olive oil on its own as instructed below.) Zest half of 1 orange; set zest aside. Juice the oranges to make 3⁄4 cup juice; set juice aside.
- Bring the shrimp shells, allspice, cilantro sprigs, reserved orange zest, salt, and 4 cups water to a boil in a 4-qt. saucepan. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer the broth mixture for 10 minutes. Strain the shrimp broth through a fine sieve set over a medium bowl; discard solids. Add the shrimp to the bowl containing the strained broth and poach until shrimp are just pink and cooked through, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the shrimp to a plate. Set aside 1⁄4 cup of the broth; freeze the remaining broth for another use.
- Slice the shrimp in half lengthwise and transfer to a medium bowl. Add the reserved achiote oil and broth, orange juice, chopped cilantro, lime juice, ají dulce peppers, garlic, red onions, and habanero pepper; stir to combine and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate to let the flavors meld for 1 hour before serving.
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