Every once in a while you stumble into a place blessed by nature. We found such a place in the tiny coastal town of Tulum: a small restaurant at the end of a beach path, a few kilometers further out than most visitors to Tulum usually go. It’s called Ultimo Maya, the last Maya. Going those extra kilometers made all the difference. You sit at one of three small weathered tables beneath the palm trees, massaging a heavenly ceviche de pescado y camaron against the roof of your mouth and slurping fresh, ice-cold coconut juice.
In the background, the turquoise waves break endlessly onto the white sand. There’s no-one in sight, except perhaps for the odd dog wandering aimlessly along the beach. After staying long enough to give this panorama its due, we decide to take a peek into the kitchen. The chef flashes us a friendly smile and invites us to look around his humble domain. Using the simplest methods, he creates delicious Mexican specialties from the freshest fish in a simple bamboo hut.
If you’d like to stay longer then just a few short hours but don’t want to pay for expensive beachfront accommodation, you can pitch a tent between the palms for just a couple of pesos. It’s a good idea to bring along a hammock, too, because there’s no better place to slurp coconut juice, and that’s a fact – we’ve tested it. But a plate of fresh Mexican beach ceviche will help you recreate a beach atmosphere no matter where you are.
… and here’s the recipe:
Ceviche del Ultimo Maya (serves two)
For the ceviche:
300 g super-fresh white fish filet (e.g. sea bass, seabream, sole), 2 handfuls of raw prawns, a couple of ice cubes
Juice from 3 to 4 limes, salt & black pepper, 1 cucumber, 3 tomatoes, 1 large onion, 1 avocado, 1 bunch fresh coriander (cilantro), 1 green chili pepper, tostadas or tortilla chips
For the garlic salsa:
3 Tbsp mayonnaise,1 Tbsp freshly pressed lime juice, 1 garlic clove, pinch of cayenne pepper, pinch of salt
1. To make the salsa, crush the garlic into a small bowl with a garlic press. Add all the other ingredients and mix.
2. Shell the prawns and blanch them in boiling, salted water for 5 minutes until they turn pink. Drain and set aside to cool.
3. Chop the fish filet into small pieces (about 1 cm) and put into a bowl with the ice cubes. Set aside.
4. Peel the cucumber, slice in half lengthwise and use a spoon to scrape out the seeds, which you discard. Cut the cucumber into strips and chop finely.
5. Finely chop the tomatoes into approx. 1 cm cubes.
6. Cut the avocado in half, remove the pit and use a spoon to carefully extract the flesh. Cut into strips and dice.
7. Roughly chop the cilantro (including the stems).
8. Finely chop the onions.
9. Chop the chili pepper into very thin rings.
10. Squeeze the lime.
11. All that’s left now is to put the ingredients into the bowl in the right order. Important: Put the fish and the prawns in first and sprinkle with plenty of salt and pepper. Mix briefly with your hands, then add the lime juice, saving a little bit for later. Throw in the rest of the ingredients and mix well. Add the remaining lime juice and if necessary, a little more salt to taste. Serve on a large plate with a few tostadas or tortilla chips stuck here and there and drizzled with salsa. That’s it! Provecho! Welcome to the beach!