Travel Bites

By Gwen Ashley Walters


Baja Rock Lobster Ceviche
with Ancho Chile Oil

Las Ventanas al Paraiso, Los Cabos, Mexico
Serves 6


Refreshing is the only way to describe this tart and tangy lobster salad. Chef Marc Lippman uses local Baja lobsters, which don't have claws; so lobster tail meat works well for this recipe. Don't worry about working with lobster cooked only to rare. The acid in the lime juice will finish "cooking" the lobster. Pop open an ice cold Pacifico beer to go with this tasty appetizer. Eat it all in one sitting, as this dish won't keep more than a day.


1 pound lobster tail, cooked rare (see note)
1/2 cup lime juice (about 4 limes)
1 cup (5 ounces) chopped hearts of palm
1/2 cup orange segments (from 2 small oranges)
1/4 cup red onion (sliced paper thin)
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
4 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste

1 English (hot house) cucumber
1 (3-inch) cookie cutter (optional)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
Chile oil


1. Chop the rare lobster meat into 1/2-inch cubes. Combine the lobster and the lime juice in a non-reactive bowl. Cover and refrigerate for 1-1/2 hours. The lobster will continue to cook in the acidic lime juice.

2. After 1-1/2 hours, add the remaining ingredients (except the garnish) and stir. Taste and add more salt and pepper if necessary. The lime taste will be very tangy. Add a pinch of sugar if it's too astringent for you. Cover and refrigerate for another 1/2 hour.

3. Serve the ceviche on a bed of fresh greens, or for a more formal presentation, use cucumber strips and a cookie cutter as a mold. Cut both ends off the cucumber. Cut it in half, lengthwise. Trim sides so that the width is the same size as the blade of your vegetable peeler. Cut long (lengthwise) strips using the vegetable peeler. Line a 3-inch cookie cutter with a strip of cucumber and mound 1/2 cup of ceviche inside. Remove the mold carefully and garnish with chopped cilantro and a few drops of chile oil.


Lobster is highly perishable. If you have a frozen tail, set it in a bowl and run cold water over it for 12 minutes to defrost. Once a lobster tail is defrosted, you need to cook it immediately.

To poach the tail to a rare temperature for this recipe, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Drop the tail into the boiling water and cook at a slow boil for 4 to 5 minutes. Immediately remove the tail and plunge into a large bowl of ice water to stop the cooking. After 5 minutes, remove the tail from the ice water and using kitchen shears, cut through the shell to remove the lobster meat. Proceed with step 1.


Ancho Chile Oil

Makes 1 cup

If you are sensitive to the heat in peppers, wear gloves when working with these dried chiles.

4 ancho chiles
2 chiles de arbol
1 cup vegetable oil

1. Remove stems and seeds from the chiles. Toast the chiles in a dry skillet until lightly toasted and fragrant, about 1 to 2 minutes. The peppers will darken as they toast, and you may need to use tongs to press them against the skillet surface.

2. Grind the toasted chiles into a powder using a spice grinder.

3. Place the chile powder into a small clean bowl. Cover with the oil and stir. Let sit for several hours or overnight. Strain the oil through a fine sieve and store the chile oil in a clean bottle. The oil will keep several weeks at room temperature or for several months in the refrigerator.


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Copyright © 2001, Gwen Ashley Walters. All rights reserved.

Gwen Ashley Walters is cookbook author, cooking teacher, food writer and Certified Culinary Professional with a degree in Culinary Arts. Gwen's travel guide/cookbooks, The Great Ranch Cookbook, (1998) and The Cool Mountain Cookbook, (2001) were published by Pen & Fork Communications.


This page created October 2001