Sunday, June 10, 2012

Aguachile to Celebrate Summer

No hay fecha que no se cumpla, plazo que no se venza, ni deuda que no se pague.

This is an old Spanish saying which roughly translates as: time marches on, and the day we thought far on the horizon appears suddenly and irrevocably.

I've thought about this saying at different points in my life when eagerly awaited moments finally arrived. Yesterday was one of those moments and, if truth be told, it repeats itself punctually every year.  School ends and another fresh crop of students graduates and heads off into the world. My colleagues and I celebrate with mixed feelings as we watch our former students embark on new journeys.  They are wayward leaves thrown into the turbulent and haphazard river of life, hopefully well-prepared to bear the triumphs as well as the disappointments that will surely come their way. We teachers have done our job, given them the tools, taught them to, as my teacher friend from Maine always says, "begin with the end in mind."

My colleagues and I, needless to say, are now in a different mode. We still have meetings to attend but we are giddy (as we are every year) with the expectations of our summer leisure time. We laugh easily, we tell jokes, we are relaxed and at ease.  The stress is gone and we all talk of summer travel, of books we'll read.  I, for one, will be back to San Miguel de Allende, first with students and then on my own with my husband. What makes a summer in San Miguel so attractive is the temperate climate and laid-back character of the community, especially coming from the competitive atmosphere of Washington DC.

As I eagerly await my San Miguel summer, I make one of the dishes I regularly order at La Sirena Gorda in the center of town on calle Barranca. It's a type of ceviche common on the Pacific coast that is a much spicier version of regular ceviche. This is a perfect example of dishes you will only find in Mexico, exquisite in taste and low in calories.

So, the fecha (date) is here for you to try something new. The fecha at hand is the glorious beginning of the summer with all of its delights.

Aguachile for the beginning of summer

Recipe Type: Appetiser

Author: Gilda Valdez Carbonaro

Prep time: 15 mins

Total time: 15 mins

Serves: 4-6


  • 1 lb small shrimp, deveined or small scallops

  • 2 serrano chilies or 4 jalapeƱos, chopped roughly with stem removed

  • 1/2 cup cilantro

  • 1 teaspoon sea salt

  • juice from 6 limes, approximately

  • 1 cucumber, for garnish

  • 1/2 small red onion, sliced thinly for garnish

  • 1 sliced avocado for garnish

  1. Blend the chilies, cilantro, lime juice, and salt.

  2. Pour onto the deveined shrimp and place in a bowl in the refrigerator for about 10 minutes.

  3. Peel and cut the cucumber into 4 strips and slice thinly.

  4. Arrange the shrimp and the aguachile sauce on a place and garnish with the cucumbers, sliced red onion, and sliced avocado.

  5. Add more salt if necessary.

  6. Serve on good quality corn chips or tostadas.

Smaller shrimp work better in this recipe and if they are butterflied it results in a better texture because the lime works more quickly on the raw shrimp. This is a recipe that separates the men from the mice! Have a cold beer ready to put the fire out. Fire eaters, you will love this. The rest of you, and you know who you are, just remove some of the serranos from the recipe if you prefer.