Cinco de Mayo Recipes: Tomatillo Shrimp Ceviche

Cinco de Mayo Recipes: Tomatillo Shrimp CevicheDo you have a friend who — no matter how much time goes by without talking — you still feel totally connected?


My dear friend Pilar lives in Madrid, Spain.  I lived there for a year and — just by chance  my study abroad program placed me in her apartment.  We became close friends instantly and we felt like sisters.  Everyone actually thought we were sisters — twins even!

I’ve been back to visit her a few times over the years, and she’s been here, but it’s been about seven years now since we’ve seen each other, and I don’t know when we last spoke.  Even so, I feel like we talked this morning, and if I saw her tonight for dinner, it would seem as if no time had passed.

I can’t eat shrimp in any form without thinking of Aguadulce in the south of Spain, where Pilar’s family has a home.  In the summer, we’d sit by the beach and eat unbelievably fresh shrimp right out of the shell — practically right out of the ocean!

While this ceviche is made up of several ingredients, it has that super refreshing quality I love when I eat shrimp.  It’s the perfect first course or appetizer for your Cinco de Mayo festivities this weekend!

Tomatillo Shrimp Ceviche(Clearly Spain has nothing to do with Cinco de Mayo, but really I’m all about the shrimp here!) 

Tomatillo Shrimp Ceviche
Prep time
Total time
Serves: Makes about 2 cups
  • ½ cup fresh lime juice (from about 3 limes)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
  • ¾-pound fresh shrimp, peeled, deveined, and finely chopped
  • ⅓ cup finely chopped tomatillo (about 1 large tomatillo)
  • ⅓ cup finely chopped tomato, seeds removed (about 1 medium-sized tomato)
  • ¼ cup finely chopped red onion
  • 1 tablespoon super finely chopped Serrano pepper, seeds removed
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Olive oil
  1. Mix the lime and orange juice in a medium-sized glass bowl. Add the shrimp, cover with plastic wrap, and let it marinate for at least 4 hours in the refrigerator.
  2. Remove the marinating shrimp from the refrigerator and gently mix in the tomatillo, tomato, onion, pepper and cilantro, cover and return to the refrigerator to marinate for about 1 more hour, or until the shrimp appears to be "cooked." It should be completely opaque and slightly pink.
  3. Drizzle with a bit of olive oil and season generously to taste with salt and pepper.
You can adjust the amount Serrano pepper you add, depending on how much heat you like. The amount listed in the recipe makes the ceviche medium hot.

Are you wondering how the shrimp in the ceviche is "cooked?" Wonder no more! The acid from the citrus actually changes the structure of the proteins in the seafood, essentially "cooking" it without using heat.
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  1. says

    I love learning more about your life:) You two do look alike! I can clearly envision you sitting on the beach with her family and rating seafood caught hours before:) Memories like those make the life so much more special.
    I love ceviche and as soon as I return from Serbia, I am going to make this version (I have a great recipe form Rick Bayless that uses scallops, but this would be a great alternative).
    I’ll keep in touch! Have a great holiday and a great summer with your boys! I will miss you!

  2. Lisa says

    HI Valentina,
    I was told to steam the shrimp first, then place the shrimp in lemon juice. I was told that you can only soak in lemon to “cook” fish but not shrimp. I am kind of worried because I plan to feed this to my family and don’t want anyone to get sick. I am going to use previously frozen shrimp from the grocery store. I just wanted to be sure that you didnt get sick. 🙂

    • valentina says

      Hi Lisa, yes, I’ve seen many recipes where the shrimp is steamed or boiled a bit before it’s soaked. Some people do this and some don’t — the acid in citrus works the same way with shellfish as it does with fish, though it takes a bit longer sometimes. I’ve never steamed the shrimp first, and of the many times I’ve made this, no one has ever been sick. I think the two most important things are, 1), to be sure to use high quality, super fresh fish and/or shellfish, and 2), be sure the shrimp is completely opaque and slightly pink before serving it — it will look the same way it does when you sauté, steam, boil, etc. The soaking times may vary, depending on the size of the cuts, how full the bowl is, etc. — this is way I say at least 4 hours. It could be more. I hope this helps. Enjoy and thanks for visiting my site and checking out my recipes, Valentina 🙂

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