Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Summer Ceviche

Refreshing Mid-Summer Cooking --

This time of year, when the outdoor temperatures remain warm and mostly humid, I try to prepare dishes that are refreshing, light and crisp.  My mid-summer go-to: Ceviche -- which is a fish dish popular in Central and South America, and therefore has a delectable Latin flavor, and some kick.  

The one catch to this dish -- the fish is undercooked, even raw in parts. The only cooking the fish receives is from a citrus marinade, often limes.  So if you aren't into raw fish, this may not be your dish.  Always be sure to buy your fish from a market that caters in super-fresh seafood, where the turnover is frequent. Markets that sell to sushi-making chefs are ideal. 

Ceviche can be made with fluke, sea bass, halibut and other white fish. While popular in many restaurants, I stay away from crustaceans. Shrimp, scallops, lobster, etc. are best cooked with traditional heat sources. 

Fluke Ceviche

 Here is what you will need:

1 pound of white fish (in this case fluke)
2-3 limes (about 1/2 cup)
1 cup of finely minced cilantro, plus extra leaves for garnish
8 teaspoons finely minced mint leaves (about 10-12 leaves)
8 teaspoons finely minced fresh basil
1 small onion chopped
20 cherry tomatoes
5 cloves of garlic diced finely
2 teaspoons honey
1 teaspoon of crushed chili pepper
Sea salt (preferably Maldon brand)
2 Avocados for garnish

Before cutting fish, be sure to wash under water and lightly salt.  Also, cut out any deep red sections and check for other areas that may contain bones. Remove these annoying rascals!

Using a sharp knife, cut the fish into thin pieces, preferably on the diagonal. I do not care for large chunks. Thin slices delicately delight the palate, and present a more gourmet texture. 

Place fish in a bowl and add lime juice. Add chopped onion. The fish and onion are the two ingredients that we are cooking here. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. All the fish pieces should have turned white on the outside. 

Meanwhile, mix the diced cilantro, mint, basil, honey and of course, garlic! 

Quarter the tomatoes and discard any juice.  Mix with the fresh herbs.

I prefer using tomatoes rather than red peppers in ceviche.  Tomatoes have less crunch and don't interfere with the smooth texture of the fish.  

Combine the herb mix with the fish and let chill for another 10 minutes.  Be sure not to over-marinate, it will overpower and overcook the fish.  

Serve the Ceviche over a bed of avocado, drizzle with olive oil and season with sea salt crystals, ground pepper and hot chili pepper. 

Did you know:

  • Cilantro, is indigenous to the Mediterranean region, has been used for over 3,000 years, and is derived from the Coriander plant and therefore is the same herb. Mediterranean and Asian cultures are likely to call it Coriander, while in the Americas, it is more commonly referred to as Cilantro. 

  • While I adore Cilantro, some seem to have an adverse predisposition to the herb, equating it to a soap-like flavor.  

  • Cilantro/Coriander is used in both sweet and savory dishes and is an essential ingredient in curry powder. 

Food for Thought!

For those who read my last post, I cut my hair! 

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