This is the last of my Seafood Summer posts so I thought I would share the recipe that is best at cooling you down in last dog days of summer.
Oh ceviche, how I love you! Is there anything better on a hot humid day in the South than a fresh ceviche and a Margarita? It's so summer friendly it involves no cooking, no standing over a hot stove wondering why you feed these people everyday. Why can't they live on yogurt and cereal? That's food. I mean do they really need all of the parts of the food pyramid? I know it's terrible to even think about not preparing nutritious meals for your family every night but y'all it's hot here. I mean like a heat index of 103 degrees with 90% humidity hot. Your oven becomes your enemy. You look at it and a tear forms at the thought of the pain and suffering it's about to bring to your life. God forbid you make the mistake the cooking something that involves you standing over an open flame. It's a little uncomfortable at first, then it slowly gets hotter and you can feel the haze building in your head. You start sweating and chugging water like you just ran a marathon. Your bitterness level rises as the succubuses come in and out grabbing drinks and asking when dinner is going to be ready. They even have the nerve to complain "Mom, it's really hot in here." Is it? Are the 30 seconds you're in here causing you to be uncomfortable? I am so sorry, I should have considered your comfort level before I strived to nourish and sustain your life. It usually ends with me finally losing it and yelling "Unless you are bleeding profusely or choking on something do not step a foot in this kitchen." Which of course at this point my middle child gingerly taps her toe just barely past the door. See she knows I can't do anything, I am trapped over this hot box of doom. Once I am finally done I emerge from the kitchen covered in the splatter of sauce or oil, sweat dripping from brow, two giant smiley faced sweat marks only formed by the larger endowed women and place their food on the table. Do I get the Oohs and Aahs? The thank you Mom, please sit down? No, I get. "I wanted pasta." "I only eat chicken now." "Can I just have a snack?" At this point, I just grab a glass of wine and head for the porch. I do this to spare their lives. I sit outside and strongly consider feeding them cereal for a week. That will teach them! Then they will learn. But, we all know that is not true. They would probably love it and I would slowly let the guilt eat away at me which would lead to me cooking some five-course meal to wash away my sins. So this is a way to get some relief from the summer cooking torture.
Ceviche - if they don't like it, let them eat cereal! You did your job you provided them with food a whole hell of lot more than they give you. (I mean excpet for their love) ceviche is a relatively simple recipe. The key is a good fish. Since I am not rolling in the dough I usually choose the most econimical firm white fish. This time it was cod. Occasionally they will have a big sale on other fancier fish, just make sure its a firm white fish without a strong flavor. If your thinking of using catfish DON'T trust me it’s not good. Also, those bags of frozen fish do not work. They turn into fish mush. Not attractive on any level. You can also use shrimp or scallops. I find with shrimp its best to parboil them since they never seem to get completely done in the citrus cooking process. Some important tips for making this. Pat the fish dry before cutting it into cubes. Try to get uniform pieces so everything cooks evenly. Also, add the avocado last right before serving or it will break apart into a giant green mess.
• 1 pound skinless fish fillets, a firm white fish
• 1 teaspoon grated lime zest from 1 lime
• 1/2 cup juice from 4 limes
• 1/2 cup juice from 4 lemons
• 1 jalapeno chili (small), stemmed, seeded, and minced
• 1 medium garlic clove, minced
• 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
• 1/2 red onion minced
• 1 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered (or diced regular tomatoes, just make sure it firm and not mealy)
• 3 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro leaves
• 1/2 teaspoon sugar
• 1 ripe avocado, pitted and diced fine
• Ground black pepper
1. Prepare the fish by removing any bones and slice into 1-inch squares about 1/3 inch thick.
2. Stir the lime zest, lime juice, lemon juice, bell pepper, jalapeño, garlic, and 1/2 teaspoon salt together in a medium bowl. Gently stir in the seafood, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until the seafood is firm, opaque, and appears cooked, 45 to 60 minutes, stirring halfway through the marinating time.
3. Place the mixture in a fine-mesh strainer, leaving it a little wet, then return to the bowl. Gently stir in the oil, scallions, tomatoes, cilantro, and sugar followed by the avocado. Season with salt and pepper to taste before serving.