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Friday, August 05, 2011

Summer ceviche recipe

Friday, August 05, 2011 By

Look yummy? Oh, good, I'll let the person who made this ceviche and took
this photo know that you like it. I forgot to take a photo so I totally stole this image.
Ceviche is a traditional Latin American dish that comes in many, many forms. It is thought to have originated in Ecuador or Peru, but I've had it at Mexican and even Asian restaurants.

Recipes vary. I've had it with just fish, onions, lime juice and cilantro - and I've had more elaborate concoctions, as well. One of my favorite versions came from Harry & Sons in the Virginia-Highlands neighborhood in Atlanta. They get a great balance of flavor and big, meaty chunks of fish.

But I can't eat out all the time. So I devised my own dern ceviche. It's fresh, low-fat, low-calorie - and since the fish and most of the vegetables are pickled instead of cooked, the food retains all of their nutrients. I could eat it every day for a week, so I make a huge batch at a time. But you can halve the amounts below. Note: any one of these ingredients - even the fish, for vegetarians - can be omitted, except the citrus juices.
  • 8-10 fully thawed tilapia filets, cut into chunks
  • 1 lb. of medium-sized shrimp, halved
  • 2 cucumbers, peeled, seeded and cut into chunks
  • 1 mild onion, peeled and diced (although some like bigger chunks)
  • 2 ripe but firm tomatoes, seeded and diced
  • 2 cans corn, or similar amount of frozen or fresh corn
  • 10 limes, seeded and juiced (do not sub with faux juice)
  • 5 lemons, seeded and juiced (do not sub with faux juice)
  • 1/2 bunch of fresh cilantro, minced very fine
  • 1/2 bunch of fresh parsley, minced very fine
  • Second-day addition: 2 avocados, chunked
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. each salt and pepper
  • hot sauce to taste
  • Tortilla chips or toasted pita triangles
Put the fish and shrimp into a sealable container (Tupperware, Zip-loc freezer bags, whatever) and just cover with the lemon and lime juices. Seal and shake to coat. Add all the vegetables, herbs and spices - except the avocado. Seal and shake again to coat and distribute. Refrigerate for about 8 hours (although you can eat it after two), stirring or shaking the mixture every once in a while.

Before serving, remove from fridge and allow to come to just under room temperature. Add avocado chunks and toss gently with hot sauce to your preference. Serve as an appetizer with tortilla chips or pita triangles, or as a main dish in individual bowls with sides of mashed sweet potatoes, fried plantains, or rice. Another idea: omit the corn from the recipe and serve fresh, grilled corn on the cob as a side.

That's it. No heat-based cooking. In fact, you'll spend the most time juicing those dang lemons and limes. Some variations to think about trying:
  • Instead of shrimp: scallops, clams or octopus
  • Instead of tilapia: salmon, halibut, mahi-mahi, red snapper, ahi or mackerel
  • Add grapefruit pieces or diced mango
  • Add seeded, minced jalapenos (in which case, omit the hot sauce)
  • Add seeded, diced yellow or green bell peppers (you can use the red or orange ones, but they turn the pickling juice an unpalatable color)
  • Make it as a salad. Before serving, plate chopped butter bliss, leafy romaine or spring greens, add ceviche mix, and top with diced mango, papaya, peach or pineapple. For an extra kick of awesome - and I'm totally serious - toss a little bit of freshly cooked bacon crumbles into the mix. I know it sounds like the craziest thing ever, but I'm telling you it's good!
      Final note: If you're like me and can eat it every meal for days (even breakfast), you may wish to drain some of the liquid as the days pass, and add back fresh lemon or lime juice.


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