Peruvian Ceviche with Mango
I’m doubtful anyone besides my mother has noticed, but I took a break from the blog for a few months. I tried to keep up during the winter season, but the near-complete lack of sunlight made for some intensely frustrating photo shoots. Many were scrapped. It was very discouraging, to say the least. I sensed my pattern of self-sabotage creeping up behind me and decided that if I didn’t take a step back, it would absolutely get the better of me, like it always has, and I would throw in the towel, like I always have. It was a good decision. And I’m back, with all my proverbial towels (?) intact. I hope you’ve been eating well since we last hung out. Did you make the lox yet?
On top of my emotional baggage doing its stupid, ceremonial dance upon my self-esteem, this was certainly the loooooongest and rainiest winter I’ve ever endured in the time I have lived in Portland. It was gnarly. It was manymanymany months of near-daily, bone-chilling rain (if your coat is labeled “water-resistant”, that means it’s made of woven lies), and even some unprecedented amounts of snow. I binge-watched Ghost Whisperer. Then I binge-watched Party of Five. I turned thirty, which led to a mini existential crisis so I went platinum blond. And then I went lavender. I slurped gallons and gallons of tonkotsu ramen with Ben.
But then the atmospheric switch was flipped (I guess it kind of forgot spring this year), and summer came busting through, Kool-Aid Man style. It’s 100 degrees here today, with nothing but sunshine and clear skies and smiles in the forecast, and I am coming alive once again. I live for summer. It takes a lot for the heat to get to me, which I suppose is only fair since I am SUCH a weiner about winter. But even I, firmly anti-shorts, clinging to my down comforter, wearing black skinny jeans all summer long like it’s all I own (because it is.), am always on the lookout for new ways to avoid turning on the oven from July to October. Ceviche, you guys. Ceviche.
I have this weird yet useful habit of inadvertently picking a go-to recipe every summer. Last year it was black bean burrito bowls with raw corn and peach salsa. The year before it was salade Nicoise. Ceviche is going to be my go-to summer recipe this year, I can already feel it. It checks all the boxes:
- It’s super healthy.
- It’s quick.
- It uses few ingredients, one of which is avocado (check-check!).
- It makes me feel things deep inside.
- It has bright, mouth-watering flavors.
- Most importantly, it doesn’t heat up the house, and
- It’s astonishingly delicious.
If you need a briefing on ceviche, here is the gist of it. Cubed fish takes a citrus juice bath in the fridge with red onion, some weird chemistry voodoo happens, and 15-20 minutes later, the fish is “cooked”. Then it’s tossed with hot sauce, cilantro, and a few other goodies- I like avocado and mango, but the possibilities are myriad- and ready to eat via tostada, tortilla chip, or fork. A note about fish: firm, white, market-fresh fish is best (halibut, sole, bass, tilapia, etc.). Oily types, like salmon, will repel the acid and are unsafe in this context. I’ve tried a few different types of fish, and so far Halibut is my absolute fave. Wondering how in the hell citrus juice can cook fish? A thorough and informative article can be found on Serious Eats.
It’s so darn easy it hardly requires a recipe, but here it is anyhow!
- 1/2 small red onion, very thinly sliced
- 1/2 lb. firm white fish (like halibut, sole, bass, etc.), cubed
- 4 limes, juiced (about 2/3 c.)
- 1 mango
- 1 avocado
- 1/2 bunch of cilantro
- hot sauce, to taste (optional)
- tostadas or tortilla chips for serving
- In a small glass bowl toss together the onions, fish, and lime juice. Chill in the refrigerator for 15-20 minutes, tossing every 5 minutes, until fish is opaque.
- While the fish "cooks", cube the mango and the avocado. Roughly chop the cilantro. Put these ingredients in a medium serving bowl.
- Once the fish is opaque, remove from refrigerator. Use a slotted spoon to transfer fish and onions to the serving bowl with the remaining ingredients. Discard the lime juice.
- Add hot sauce to taste and toss everything together.
- Serve and eat immediately, on tostadas or chips, or a fork!
- My favorite hot sauce for this is a yuzu citrus hot sauce that I found at Trader Joe's. I am now hoarding several bottles and refuse to share. Any hot sauce that is tart and/or vinegar-based, like Tabasco, will work best here.