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ceviche

The best things I create are often inspired by someone or some place that carries a lot of meaning for me. This ceviche happens to be inspired by both. We visited my parents this weekend and together, my mother and I (mostly my mom) attempted ceviche. I had always been afraid that my fish wouldn’t be fresh enough to make this myself, so my mom woke up early and got the freshest red snapper she could find and we went to work. In a stroke of magic, the lime juice slowly cooks the red snapper, turning it from translucent pink to opaque white. The skin then becomes extremely easy to peel off.  The acid from the limes and lemons change the structure of the proteins in the fish, essentially “cooking” the fish without using heat. After the fish marinates in the lime juice, a hit of fresh cilantro, fresh parsley, avocados, more lime, and tomatoes make this refreshing and ready to eat. This ceviche was incredibly, out-of-this-world delicious. Good work, Mom!

I was particularly excited to make this ceviche because earlier this year I had the rare opportunity to hike for four days with friends in the Andes on one of the Inca Trails that inevitably leads to Machu Picchu in Peru. It was one of the most magical experiences I’ve ever had. While in Peru, I discovered what a burgeoning food scene they have going on. Cusco and Lima have delicious and creative restaurants that feature the freshest seafood and local ingredients like corn, hundreds of kinds of potatoes, quinoa (see my quinoa soup recipe here) and alpaca. They have all- vegetarian restaurants and keep the focus on local cuisine.  While not photographed here, we served this with a side of sweet potato and large white corn (mote), which is typical in Peru.

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Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs of firm, fresh red snapper fillets (or other firm-fleshed fish), cut into 1/2 inch pieces, completely deboned
  • 1/2 cup of fresh squeezed lime juice
  • 1/2 cup of fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 red onion, finely diced
  • 1 cup of chopped fresh seeded tomatoes
  • 1 serrano chili, seeded and finely diced (we used pickled jalapenos)
  • 2 teaspoons of salt
  • Dash of ground oregano
  • Dash of Tabasco or a light pinch of cayenne pepper
  • Cilantro
  • Avocado
  • Tortillas or tortilla chips

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Directions:

In a non-reactive casserole dish, either Pyrex or ceramic, place the fish, onion, tomatoes, chili, salt, Tabasco, and oregano. Cover with lime and lemon juice. Let sit covered in the refrigerator for an hour, then stir, making sure more of the fish gets exposed to the acidic lime and lemon juices. Let sit for several hours, giving time for the flavors to blend.

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Serve with sweet potato, corn, or tortilla chips. Or just eat alone. Buen provecho!

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