Thursday, November 13, 2008

Ceviche!

I promised ceviche and here it is. Now before you start arguing with me about my recipe, let me preface it by saying that ceviche, otherwise known as the art of "cooking" fresh fish or seafood in lime juice mixed with other ingredients, is a popular dish across the length and breadth of Latin America. For that reason, there are as many versions of ceviche, each using local ingredients and methods, as there are countries in the Americas (probably more once we start counting different regions and districts).

This ceviche recipe is a Yucatec style dish, modelled after the ceviche that I have had the pleasure to eat at home in Belize. While in Belize Conch Ceviche, made from the tender and sweet foot of the queen conch snail, is a particular delicacy, I have not seen conch for sale in the fish-markets and shops of DC, so I am using another good choice: red snapper.

It is essential that your fish be as fresh as possible. You CAN NOT use frozen fish for this, it will turn out mushy and disgusting. Be warned, this recipe is spicy. If you don't like spicy, replace the habanero pepper with a dash of mild hot sauce, but the taste wont be the same.

Lyra's Red Snapper Ceviche
This is easily multiplied but makes enough for 3-4 as an appetizer, or dinner for 1 very hungry ceviche lover!

4-5 ounces of skinless red snapper fillet, as fresh as possible and not frozen
one small handful of cilantro (the close, but stronger flavoured relative culantro is usually used in Belize)
2-3 large ripe limes
1 small habanero pepper, seeds removed and minced. (Jalapenos are a milder alternative)
1 small or 1/2 medium onion, finely minced
Salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste

Procedure:

1. Cut the snapper into bite sized pieces and place in a container that you can cover (I recommend glass over plastic, which absorbs the heat of the habanero).

2. Add the minced habanero and onion, salt and black pepper. Squeeze over enough fresh lime juice to cover the raw fish. Chop and mix in the cilantro.

3. Let the ceviche sit in the fridge for at least 2 hours so the lime juice can do its work, chemically "cooking" the fish flesh and making it white and firm. When the fish is no longer translucent, enjoy with some good quality tortilla chips (or make your own).

6 comments:

Chennette said...

The first time I had ceviche was actually in Belize - it was a shrimp ceviche and lovely.
And I much prefer culantro to cilantro :-) the latter has an odd taste if you use too much.

The TriniGourmet said...

Hey Chennette, small world :) Yeah I love culantro (chadon beni to us trinis :) ) and i really don't like cilantro, funny eh? :) lol.. that cerviche is lovely and looks just like the one served by one of my fave restaurants :)

Lyra said...

Hi Guys! Thanks for the comments. I did not know that culantro is called chadon beni in Trinidad, good to learn these things! I am thinking about buying some more snapper today to make ceviche again, because it is so tasty. I can eat this whole recipe by myself. I love conch ceviche especially, but you can't easily get that around here. How do they make ceviche in your countries?

Peruvia Cuisine said...

Hey Lira: congratulations! as a Peruvian Chef, I must say that the recipe looks great and the picture proves that your dish was good... I wish I could try a bit...

By the way, did you know there is a Ceviche made with Chicken? Yes, I will look after that recipe and post it. Congratulations again, and good bye.

Cynthia said...

You know what I love most about ceviche? the liquid - it is always sooooo good :)

Lyra said...

Yeah, that lime-pepper-fish combo is hard to beat. Of course, usually when I cook fish I marinade it in lime juice and habanero hot sauce beforehand as well, its just a good flavour combination!

Chicken ceviche-with raw chicken? I don't know if I would be up for tasting that one...may be just a tad too exotic for my blood.