Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Ceviche: Results

The Process:
Working with technically raw fish can be scary. I have a lot of faith in Whole Foods, but you never quite know what sort of mishap can happen when you don't actually cook the food that is going to be eaten. I made my Ceviche for my apartment's first weekly "family dinner" (we just moved in together), and throughout the entire process I kept saying, "This may be bad, everyone." I even cooked back-up chicken, just in case.

Finding an ají amarillo was virtually impossible in the short amount of time I gave myself, so I substituted half of a Serrano chile and a whole Mexican yellow pepper ("ají amarillo" literally means "yellow pepper" in Spanish, so I figured if I couldn't use the real deal I could at least use the literal translation). Find substitutions and other ideas in the "Tips" section below.

The Verdict:
Despite my fears, my Peruvian Fish Ceviche was a hit. It had the perfect amount of spice, and the citrus "cooked" the fish just like I had hoped. Thanks to my roommate's help, we enjoyed the Ceviche with roasted sweet potatoes, corn on the cob, and some jicama, my new favorite veggie snack. My first attempt at memorizing a recipe was successful-- no ingredients were forgotten. We popped open some wine, celebrated the new apartment, and enjoyed the refreshing summer dinner.

Success! A great combo of cold Ceviche with roasted sweet potatoes and corn


The Revised Recipe: Peruvian Fish Ceviche adapted from the Food Network

Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 pounds fish fillets (I used flounder*), cut on the bias* into 1-inch dice 
  • 1 quart water, boiled and chilled 
  • 1/2 red onion, sliced thin 
  • 1 aji amarillo, rib and seeds removed, diced* 
  • 1 clove garlic 
  • Salt and pepper 
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice 
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice 
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped cilantro leaves
Preparation:
  • Place fish in a non-reactive bowl*. 
  • Add 3 cups of chilled water to fish and rinse gently.Drain water.
  • Add onions to remaining chilled water and let soak.
  • Meanwhile, place aji, garlic, and pinch of salt in a mortar and pestle*. Grind to make a paste.
  • Combine fish, lime and lemon juices, aji and garlic paste, salt, pepper, and cilantro. Let marinate for 10 minutes.
  • When ready to serve, divide fish ceviche into 4 dishes and top with onion slices.* 
*Tips:
  • Choosing fish: I turn to Seafood Watch to choose the fish with a low environmental impact. And be sure this fish is ultra fresh.
  • Cut on the bias: Cut through the fibers of the fish for an easier time chewing. Place the grain of the fish at a 45° angle to the bottom of the cutting board before you cut. Check out step 6 of this video tutorial.
  • Ají amarillo: Peruvian hot pepper. I used 1/2 Serrano chile and 1 Mexican yellow chile instead, but I want to keep the original pepper in the recipe.
  • Non-reactive bowl: Stainless steel, plastic, glass, or ceramic all work to avoid a metallic tasting ceviche. Extra curious about non-reactive cookware? Read on.
  • Mortar and pestle: The old-school way of grinding, mashing, and muddling. If you don't have one, place the ingredients on a cutting board and mush them with the back of a spoon, using a rotating motion.
  • Serve with grilled corn and sweet potatoes for a heartier meal. And if it is hot, chill some jicama, peel, and cut into sticks for a great appetizer.

1 comment:

  1. Success! Sounds delicious! And "your new favorite veggie snack" reminds me of how we'd fill those little paper bowl-trays with jicama the salsa bar at La Salsa before they got all cheap and stopped giving it away.

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