Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Ceviche: Stupid Easy. For Realsies.

This might be the easiest thing you will ever make in your whole life. Full stop. This recipe actually cannot be screwed up, try as one might. Guaranteed summer supper star. One of the nicest things about this dish is that you can make it with any kind of fish or shellfish (almost - don't use salmon), and with any kind of citrus - lemon, lime, orange, grapefruit even. Grapefruit is actually quite friggin' delicious in this dish.

I like to serve my ceviche with tortilla chips. But this is not required.

And it's weird science:  you don't have to cook the fish – the acid in the citrus breaks down the proteins so that the fish takes on the texture of having been cooked. It's a perfect light lunch or dinner on one of those blistering hot days when the thought of turning on the oven makes you want to jump off a bridge. It's also a great adaptable dish in terms of servings as well:  works just as well for one as it does for a crowd. The recipe below is a good amount for a shareable appetizer for between 4 and 6 people.

This doesn't suck.

1 1/2 - 2 pounds of fish or shellfish (When I made this for my friend Jason's birthday dinner yesterday, I used scallops, shrimp, and a filet of cod; calamari is also great, as are haddock, halibut, red snapper, even octopus!  Get crazy. It's important that you use fresh fish, but frozen – defrosted, raw – shellfish is okay.)
Juice of two limes
Juice of one lemon (you could replace this with the juice of one grapefruit)
1 jalapeno pepper or other chile, minced (you can add more or less, based on how spicy you like it)
a big handful of chopped cilantro
Half a red onion, sliced as thin as possible
Salt (start with a half-teaspoon or so, but taste before serving to see if you need more)
1 avocado diced
Tortilla chips, for serving

Cut up all the fish and shellfish into a size that will make it land nicely on a tortilla chip. Basically, dice it up. Add all of your citrus, jalapeno, cilantro, red onion, and salt. Mix it up well, and put it in the fridge. The total time it will need to sit is about one to two hours, or a shorter time if you're making it for one. Stir it a few times during its stay in the fridge. You'll actually be able to see the fish cooking in the acid – it will start to turn white and opaque, and take on the appearance of having been cooked.

Once it looks (and tastes) to be 'cooked', stir in your diced avocado and taste to see if it needs more salt, adding if necessary. Serve with the tortilla chips.

This is really delicious, light and fresh and punchy and the perfect summer food, in my opinion.

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