Thursday, June 12, 2014

The Dudes' Ceviche - A Perfect Summer Treat

Once upon a time, I was very intimidated by ceviche. For those unfamiliar, ceviche is a dish comprised of small pieces of raw fish, 'cooked' in citrus juices and seasoned with peppers, cilantro, or a plethora of other options.

The 'cooking' in citrus juice factor is what daunted me the most. Sure, science and every other place that serves ceviche says that it is cooked, but what if I poison my friends by accidentally serving raw fish that isn't sushi-grade? Well, that was until I went to Mexico on my honeymoon and was positively spoiled by the delicious ceviche made available. Upon arriving home, I wanted more. ASAP.

Fortunately, Vinny Dotolo and Jon Shook (prolific restaurateurs in Los Angeles) have the best cookbook on our shelves (heck, probably anyone's shelves) that includes a delicious recipe. This book is Two Dudes, One Pan: Maximum Flavor from a Minimalist Kitchen, and you should open a new tab and buy it immediately. Really. I'll wait.

OK, welcome back! You won't regret it. Back to my initial ceviche-at-home aversion. In essence, I just make sure to get good quality fish from the fancy grocery store (Bristol Farms, in our case) for my peace of mind. Don't get the manager's special 'probably still good' fish for this one.

Prepped and ready to set in the fridge.

This dish also feels very decadent, while really being extremely simple. The hardest part is making sure to plan an hour to several hours ahead, so the fish has time to marinate. In the times I have made this, we have typically had leftovers. The next day was often even better than the first. Sure, I wouldn't push it any more than 24 hours for aforementioned paranoid reasons, but, until then, you can get your hands on some damn fine ceviche.

Served with tortilla chips, this also makes an excellent appetizer for a party. It is fresh-tasting, bright with the citrus and peppers and stretches amongst a large group of people as folks are far less likely to destroy a dish of fish than, let's say, shoveling in hummus.

Ready to serve!

Peruvian-Style Citrus Ceviche

from Two Dudes, One Pan: Maximum Flavor from a Minimalist Kitchen by Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo

Serves 4 to 6

Substitutions and Adjustments: This recipe calls for fluke, group, or halibut but, considering our fancy grocery store didn't have fluke or group and halibut was $33 a pound (a little rich for my blood), the fishmonger suggested tilapia. This came in at about $13 a pound, and turned out great. This can also stretch to feed about 8, if served as an appetizer. Finally, I substituted tortilla chips for popcorn or corn nuts.

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (from about 1 lemon)
1/4 cup fresh lime juice (from about 2 limes)
1/4 cup fresh orange juice (from about 1/2 orange)
1 jalapeño or serrano chile (seeded and deveined for less heat), finely diced
1 tablespoon finely diced red bell papper
1 tablespoon finely diced yellow bell pepper
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
2 teaspoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 8-ounce skinless fluke, grouper, or halibut fillets, cut into 3/4-inch cubes [NH: I used tilapia]
Popcorn or corn nuts for serving (optional) [NH: I served with tortilla chips]

Whisk the lemon, lime, and orange juices together in a large bowl.  Add the jalapeño, bell peppers, cilantro, sugar, and salt and whisk to combine.  Add the fish and toss gently with your hands.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and marinate in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 hours. Serve in bowls with popcorn or corn nuts on the side.

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