Latin American Flavours
I have always had an interest in the complexity of flavours from Latin America and until recently studied little about how to actually produce some of their classic dishes. I have often had a go at creating my own versions of some of the great dishes from that part of the world without really knowing if what I was doing was authentic or not, but as long as my diners didn't keel over or even complain then I suppose I must have done something right.
I have recently rediscovered an old school friend from my much younger days, he is now living in Colombia so I thought I should post a recipe for him to tell me how wrong I have spelt, prepared and served one of the freshest and easiest classics from the region.
It is very important to make sure the fish you use is the freshest you can get, even better if you have actually caught it yourself! You can use salmon, trout, monkfish, sea bass and many more.
How long you marinade the fish for is entirely up to you but I would suggest at least two hours for the citrus to work it's magic. I serve the ceviche with cured/pickled red onions (cebollas encurtidas) which I was taught by an old head chef I worked with many years ago, he had travelled South America some years before and came across these bright pink onions that were eaten with virtually everything and yet he didn't know how they were made until his children gave him a cook book with the recipe in. He was so chuffed with this recipe that we started to serve them with just about anything at the restaurant.
I like to serve the ceviche as a starter or just as a light snack, it is so refreshing and with all the citrus it will cleanse your palate just as a sorbet will.
For the ceviche you will need,
200g fresh tuna
juice and zest of 1 large lime (approximately 45ml of juice)
fresh chillies, red or green, as much as you like
a few sprigs of fresh coriander
1 little gem lettuce heart
Thinly slice the fish and put it into a mixing bowl. Finely dice or slice the chilli and add it to the fish, then add the zest and juice of the lime, stir to make sure all the ingredients are evenly distributed, cover and refridgerate for a minimum of two hours.
Now for the pickled red onions you will need
2 small red onions (the smaller they are the sweeter they are)
Juice of 3 limes
1 tbls sunflower oil or any other oil without too much flavour
1 tbls salt plus a pinch
peel, half and thinly slice the onions and put into a bowl with 1 tbls of salt and a squeeze of lime, mix together and leave for ten minutes. Cover the onions with luke warm water and rest for a further ten minutes. Rinse and drain the onions in a colander and return to the bowl, now add a pinch of salt, the rest of the lime juice and the oil, stir together, cover and leave in the fridge for at least three hours. The longer you leave the onions the pinker they will become, and they will last for days. I am sure if you make these once you will make them again and again as they really do go well with so many things.
Now to serve the ceviche I just put a little bit of fish on one or two little gem leaves and top with some red onions and a little fresh coriander. This really is the most refreshing summer starter.