Mexico has some of the best food. The freshest ingredients and the most amazing combination of flavors. Spicy, subtle, salty and succulent.
Specifically, I am referring to the food made in the interior of Mexico, as well as along the coasts. What I am not talking about is sloppy Tex-Mex food, but rather food that dances on your taste buds and makes you happy when you eat it, such as moles, molcajetes, tortas, salsas and ceviches.
Ah, ceviche. On a hot day, nothing beats a plate of ceviche with fresh and crispy tostadas and an agua fresca, glass of sparkling white wine or a cold beer.
Ceviches are very popular in Mexico and throughout Latin America where fresh seafood is plentiful. The beauty of ceviche is that it can be made with halibut, grouper, tuna, snapper or other white fish, as well as scallops, shrimp and even octopus.
The fish or seafood is “cooked” with lime juice and—depending on what country you are in or what part of that country you are in—a few other ingredients are tossed in for additional flavoring as well as texture or just because “it’s traditional” to make ceviche that way.
Of course, the trick is to use the freshest fish you can find, because if you use not-so-fresh-fish, you’ll definitely never want ceviche again. Today we are using a very rare and hard-to-find species known as hog snapper. It swims in the Florida Keys and the Bahamas and is usually speared rather than caught or netted. Our friends at Groomer’s order this for us whenever they can get it and it is truly one of the best fish in the sea.
When we lived in Mexico, Sabino, our chef at Puerto Mio in Zihuatanejo, made the most amazing ceviche on the planet and we will only use his recipe when we make it at home.
The combination of flavors and textures are perfect. If only we were in Mexico to enjoy Sabino’s ceviche as we dine al fresco by the expansive and mystical Pacific Ocean.
But we’re not, so here’s the next best thing.
Ceviche al Estilo Sabino (Sabino's Ceviche)
- 1 lb. fresh white fish (red snapper, halibut, etc.) scallops, shrimp or octopus, chopped
- 1/3 cup white onion finely diced
- 1/2 cup cilantro chopped
- 1 serrano or jalapeno pepper or to taste, deseeded, deveined and finely diced
- 1/4 cup good quality green olives sliced or diced
- 1/4 cup capers
- 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 limes juiced
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 avocado sliced for garnish
Carefully chop the fish into bite-size pieces.
In a big bowl, add the chopped onion, cilantro, jalapeno or serrano pepper, green olives and capers. Stir to combine and then add the chopped fish and lime juice. Mix thoroughly again and let sit for one minute. This is when the lime juice will "cook" the fish.
Finish it off by drizzling 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil and adding salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
Taste the ceviche and add more evoo, lime juice and salt and/or pepper, if desired and to achieve the proper balance of flavors.
Ideally, the fish and vegetables soak up the oil and lime juice so there is little left in the bowl. You do not want a soupy mess.
For best results, serve immediately with a few slices of fresh avocado and crispy tostadas. Add a bowl of homemade salsa and guacamole and a cold adult beverage and you've got a perfect dinner for a hot summer night.
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