Seasonal Delicacies [Drunken Spot Prawn Ceviche Tostadas]

It’s been hot and steamy in Ottawa lately, and not in the sexy way, either. In the whine-endlessly-while-laying-in-a-starfish-on-the-hardwood-floors sort of way. I admit, I’ve been known to turn into a temper-tantrum-throwing 4 year old when the mercury rises above 28 degrees. I simply can’t handle our weather in Ontario some days. Most days. All the time. 

Not that the heat has ever stopped me from plowing through a plate of pasta or reaching for another serving of my mom’s creamy, buttery, whipped mashed potatoes, but if meal selection was chosen solely based on temperature, I would be eating anything and everything citrus for the full 3 months of heinous, humid, Eastern Ontario summers. 

Ceviche, the process of cooking raw seafood in citrus juice, is one of a handful of dishes that I could never, ever tire of. Ever! There are so many easily adaptable recipes that suit every taste, seasonal ingredient and budget, that there is no excuse to not make it at home (if it’s your cup of tea, of course. I won’t peer pressure you into making ceviche… but you should… immediately. Or else.)

Since it’s nearing the end of Spot Prawn season and I hate to miss out on seasonal delicacies, I decided to get my paws on a bundle of fresh prawns from The Whalesbone Sustainable Retail & Fish Shop. They were a stunning shade of rosy, blushed coral and smelled fresh like a salty gust of ocean air. I knew in a heartbeat that they would make the perfect ceviche to top some crispy corn tortillas. 

Say it with me now; Whether it’s prawns, white fish, salmon or scallops -  ceviche is your favourite summer friend. Repeat that 10 times fast and I think you’ll make it through the parching summer. 

Drunken Spot Prawn Ceviche Tostadas 
makes 6 tostadas 

A note on buying and handling from Wild BC Spot Prawns; 

When buying live Wild BC Spot Prawns look for lively, almost translucent prawns. The tail should be straight in line with the head. The head should be firm to touch, with no black colouration.

Wild BC Spot Prawns come from cold Pacific waters. After buying your prawns, immediately get them into a cooler or on ice. This will help prevent the prawn meat from deteriorating. Wild BC Spot Prawns harvested “live” should be cooked immediately or have their heads removed as soon as possible. After the heads are removed the tails should be thoroughly rinsed.  Spot prawns have an enzyme that begins to permeate through the tail and turns the meat mushy.  Removing the head and rinsing the tail keeps the flesh firm. The head of the prawn can be removed from the tail by swiftly turning it and pulling it away from the tail.

16 spot prawns, heads removed
Juice + zest of 1 lime
2 tbsp tequila
1 cup cucumber, cubed
1/2 jalapeno pepper, seeds and ribs removed and diced
small bunch (2 tbsp) mint leaves, minced
2 tbsp red onion, minced

To serve:
6 corn tortillas
vegetable oil, to fry
2 avocados, diced
2 green onions, sliced thin
1 lime, cut into wedges

Holding the prawn tail, lift the shell up and away from the body to remove. Discard or save (freeze) to make stock at a later date. 

Cut the prawns into bite sized pieces and put them in a medium size bowl. Add the  lime juice and zest, tequila, cucumber, jalapeno and half the red onion. Give everything a good toss and place in the fridge, stirring often, for 30 minutes. 

10 minutes before you’re ready to serve, heat 2 tbsp of oil in a heavy bottomed pan over medium-high heat. Test the oil by flicking a little water into it - if it sizzles, it’s ready to fry some tortillas! Place tortillas, one at a time, into the oil and fry until lightly browned in spots, 40 seconds. Flip and fry the other side. Repeat with all 6 tortillas.

Place 1 tortilla on a plate, top with ceviche, avocado, green onion, red onion and a squeeze of lime. And please, for the love of god, enjoy them with an icy margarita!!