The first time I ever tried civeche was when I was the GM for two privately owned restaurants in Galveston. Incidentally, one of those restaurants has a raw seafood bar tucked away behind the actual bar. So, one night, after dinner had finally died down and we were about to close, I see my bartender sneaking to the kitchen with a stainless steel bowl. “I see you,” I called to him. “What are you taking to the kitchen?” He smiled and simply replied, “civeche”. I had heard too many good things about the dish to just let all the cooks inhale it so I ran in behind him and got a few good spoonfuls. The rumors were all true. It was sooooo friggin good! So, in remembrance of my first time eating civeche with one of the best crews I’ve had the pleasure of working with, here is my very own conch and shrimp civeche.
15 small shrimp, peeled and devained
½ c lime juice
½ c Orange juice
1 lg jalapeño, seeded and small diced
8 grape tomatoes, small diced
1.5 tbs cucumber, small diced
1.5 red onion, small diced
¼ c cilantro, chopped
½ avocado, small diced
Salt and pepper to taste
To prepare the conch, slice off the ends and trim the top layer of meat away so you’re left with a bright white flesh. Make sure there are no more spots that are as tough as cartilage. If so, trim those spots away as well. Once you’ve trimmed up the conch, slice in half lengthwise. Next, thinly slice the conch and dice into small bite-sized pieces. (Conch is not a tender meat) transfer diced conch to a large bowl. Dice shrimp into ⅙, they should be slightly larger pieces than the conch. Transfer to the same bowl with the conch. Add the lime and orange juice. Cover and refrigerate for 40 minutes. Give it a quick stir and return to fridge to marinade for an additional 20 minutes or until the shrimp is no longer grey and has cooked through.
Once the seafood is done, carefully mix in the remaining ingredients. Serve with tostadas or blue corn chips and some sangria swirls.