Sunday, March 04, 2012


Ceviche is one of those dishes that I could never have enjoyed as a Missourian (let alone as a West Virginian) twenty years ago. It is only because of our modern food supply chain that I can purchase fresh cod and fresh octopus at Whole Foods in Brentwood, along with a bag of limes, oranges, lemons, cilantro... It really is breathtaking to think of all the amazing foods we have access to these days.

Here is a story that could only happen in our time. Strolling through Whole Foods yesterday, I thought to myself hey, I want to make some ceviche. So out comes my smart phone and, after a 30-minute discussion about work with a colleague who happened to be wandering through the same place and time, I finally googled "ceviche". Within seconds I was reading a recipe for classic Peruvian ceviche.

I bought 1 lb of fresh cod (of which I actually only used about 3/4), and 1/2 lb of fresh octopus, which I had the fishmonger at Whole Foods clean for me (which was great that she offered, since I have no idea how to clean an octopus). In place of the rocoto chili, I used three large sliced Bird's eye (Thai) chilis. In retrospect, I should've used twice as many. The heat didn't come through very prominently.

Because the limes were actually a little dry, it took me the entire bag of medium-sized organic limes to squeeze out just 3/4s of a cup of juice. So to keep the ratios consistent, I only put in 3 oz of orange juice and 3 oz of lemon juice.

The thinly sliced onion is actually a very important aspect of this recipe, because it provides a crunchiness to the final dish that would otherwise be just a lot of soft, pickled fish.

I let my fish "cook" (technically "denature") in the marinade for nearly 3 hours, which is the maximum amount of time recommended. I served it on some slightly toasted french bread with thin slices of avocado.

Now here is the real ULTIMATE kicker, which I know absolutely must be a prerequisite in Peru, because it is so perfect... I had remembered seeing on an Anthony Bourdain episode that the marinade itself, called the Leche de Tigre (the tiger's milk), is considered the ultimate hangover helper. Plus, I mean just consider what it is. It's just begging to be consumed. I mixed 2 oz of the leche de tigre with 2 oz of Don Cesar Pisco Puro, which is an excellent Peruvian unaged brandy (pisco), over ice, flavored with a bit of cilantro, shaken, strained... YUM! I had to have two.

Clearly the cocktail is not shown above, where I actually ate (a second round, next day) on Crispini crackers with a modest dressing of Sriracha. Coconut water does go well with the dish.

The only changes I would've made to this recipe are perhaps a bit more salt and twice as much heat.

No comments: