Saturday, July 05, 2008

July 4, 2008 - Darwin Dash, Day 7

With our tomatoes fading fast and too much fish in the fridge, it was time to make some ceviche. This is the ceviche recipe that I use as a guideline. It comes from Rick Bayless's "Mexico - One Plate at a Time." Since I usually don't have all the ingredients it calls for, I improvise. The key points are:
- use a bit of olive oil to give the fish a glistening appearance and to give good mouth feel
- add a bit of orange juice or sugar to balance the tanginess of the lime

1 lb fresh fish (we prefer mahi mahi), cut into 1/2 inch cubes (or smaller)
1 1/2 cups fresh lime juice
1 med white union, chopped into 1/4 inch pieces

Marinate the fish in the lime juice and onion for 4 hours to cook through or less to leave a sashimi-like center (we prefer our fish raw, so we usually only let it sit in the lime juice for 30 minutes to 1 hour). Drain off the lime juice (you can marinate the fish up to a day in advance, but don't let it cook in the lime juice for more than 4 hours - it gets too acidic). Just before serving, mix the following ingredients in a separate bowl, then toss with the fish.

1 lb (2 medium large or 8 small) tomatoes, chopped into 1/4 inch pieces
Fresh hot green chiles to taste (2 to 3 serranos OR 1 to 2 jalepenos) stemmed, seeded and finely chopped (can substitute canned chiles)
1/3 cup fresh cilantro/corriander (dried does not really work as a substitute, but cilantro paste is okay)
1/3 cup chopped pitted green olives
1 large or 2 small ripe avocados, peeled, pitted and diced
1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil (if not adding olives or avocado, use a touch more oil)
3 tablespoons fresh orange juice OR 1/2 teaspoon sugar
salt to taste
serve with tortilla chips (or saltine crackers, tostadas, or thin slices of French bread)

That's all fine and good if you have a grocery store near by. Here are some suggestions for making this recipe work 100's of miles from the nearest market or store:

I carry jars of Frontera brand tomatillo (green) salsa on board. In a pinch (if I have no fresh cilantro or cilantro paste), I substitute 1/4 to 1/2 cup of tomatillo salsa for the cilantro and chiles). Tomatillo salsa mixed with diced avocado, tomato and onion also makes a more than passable guacamole. A spoonful mixed into some heavy cream and simmered for a minute or two also makes a nice sauce for grilled fish.

Since I often don't have any avocados or tomatoes on board when we're making this on passage, I substitute whatever fresh veg I happen to have - cucumber, green peppers or jicama add nice crunch. Canned diced tomatoes do not work as a substitute for fresh (too mushy). Diced medium-ripe mango pairs nicely with mahi mahi.

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