A few months ago, Tim turned to me and proceeded to look at me intensely before proclaiming: “You know what, Camila? I don’t even know why we go out to eat. You should always cook because the stuff you make is so much better.” I am fairly certain that was meant as a compliment, but at the time I had my doubts since Tim had made such a drastic claim while he was eating the cheesy scrambled eggs tacos I had prepared for him. I put that meal together using the few ingredients I had left in my fridge after spending 12 intense hours at the Austin City Limits music festival. I was convinced that Tim’s palate at that moment was impaired due to exhaustion and starvation. Fast forward to Spring 2016 and here we are, making more meals at home on Friday evenings after a long day in lab. Yes, we are starving by the time we manage to put dinner on the table. But you know what? It’s fun and it’s so worth it.
There is one dish that is guaranteed to liven up and literally spice up Friday evening: ceviche. Technically, the Peruvians are the master chefs of ceviche and I will never deny or take it for granted. However, I have my own recipe and I am pretty happy with it. As you can see from the featured image it involves tomatoes and avocados, of course!
We prepared a salmon-based ceviche but you can play around with other fish. For those who haven’t tried ceviche yet: 1) DO IT and 2) the lemon juice takes of cooking the fish for you! Isn’t that amazing? Oven-free, soft, and moist cooked fish. The trick is to get the amount of lemon juice and the soaking time right.
Now, what really makes a ceviche stand out is the spices and the seasoning. I always incorporate spring onion or red onion (finely chopped), chives, cilantro o parsley (depending on the mood). Finally, I season with salt, pepper, olive oil, and some of my secret spices. I hope you were not expecting me to give away my secret spices! On that note, I would also like to acknowledge my mom. My own personal master chef and cooking heroine, who taught me everything she knows about ceviche 🙂
As you can imagine, ceviche involves lots of chopping and dicing. It can be a bit labor intensive if you are flying solo. Luckily for me, I have an expert lemon squeezer (yes, he’s quite skilled!) and chopping master-in-training. He’s been learning to handle the knives pretty well until his true nature emerges and he proceeds to do this:
After patiently waiting for Tim to be done playing with the vegetables, it’s time to add the “ceviche toppings.” As I mentioned earlier, I love to add diced tomatoes (preferably cherry) and avocados, but one can make all kinds of different ceviche. The Peruvians add their special corn (large, crunchy, not sweet) and yucca (starchy tuberous root, the closest thing to a Peruvian potato). For example, you could change it up by adding cucumbers and shrimp!
Ok, so we have made this ceviche, how do we eat it now? Two words: bread and butter. Run to you favorite local bakery and buy the freshest sour dough, country fresh, or pannacotta bread. The reason why I am suggesting these is because the breads that work best for ceviche are spongy ones that can absorb the lemon juice with a strong crunchy crust for proper support (you don’t want your ceviche toast to fall apart before it can get to your mouth!). Ceviche is always served cold. Remember to always use fresh fish and if you have ceviche left overs don’t worry. You can eat those the next day within 24 hours of making the ceviche.
P.S: Tim was very upset that he did not get to take any left overs home (i.e. I ate all the left overs by myself for lunch the next. I have no shame jeje).