Sunday, April 10, 2011

Gluten Free Recipe: Ceviche

Ceviche is a marinated seafood salad, where raw fish is essentially "cooked" in lime juice.  When making Ceviche at home, it's important to use the freshest fish and vegetables possible, because the minimal number of ingredients really allows the flavours of each ingredient to shine through.  The dish is found in many Central and South American countries, each with its own special way of preparing it.  White Fish Ceviche is the basic kind, but shrimp, salmon, calamari and other types of seafood are common and delicious in their own right.

Ceviche is generally served as an appetizer, but it also makes a lovely small lunch on a hot day.  It's naturally gluten and dairy free.

Here is a recipe for a simple, White Fish Ceviche:

2lbs. corvina, tilapia or other firm, white fish cut into 1 inch cubes
juice of 6 limes (or enough to cover fish)
1 white onion, sliced thinly
2 tomatoes, diced
1 bunch cilantro, finely chopped
1 serrano pepper or chili, finely diced (or to taste)
1 handful chopped green olives (optional, but I really like them)
1 tablespoon good quality olive oil (also optional)
pinch of cumin
salt and pepper to taste (approx. 1 tsp. salt and a few shakes of pepper)
Leaves of iceberg lettuce, for serving.  This is the best type because it's firm.  One handful of chopped cilantro for garnish.

1- Cut raw fish into 1 inch cubes and place in a glass casserole dish.  Cover with lime juice.  Fish needs to be covered completely, so add more lime juice if necessary. 
2- Add diced tomatoes, sliced onion, diced pepper and chopped cilantro to dish.  Add salt, pepper and cumin.  Mix well and add more lime juice if needed. 
3- Cover and refrigerate, ideally overnight.  When ready, fish will be completely white, not translucent.  Many people marinate the fish for a much shorter period, but since I'm serving it to my toddler, I like to be certain.  A few hours (4-6) should suffice if you want to make it and eat it the same day.
4- Stir and adjust seasonings.  Sprinkle with chopped olives and drizzle with oil if using.
5. Place one lettuce leaf in the bottom of each small serving bowl.  Add Ceviche, and sprinkle with reserved chopped cilantro for garnish.  Serve accompanied with plantain chips for a gluten free appetizer or small meal.  Serves 4-6.

The Ceviche at Roca Sunzal Hotel in Tunco Beach, El Salvador

As you can see from the photo, sliced carrot was added to this particular dish.  I was a little hesitant to try Ceviche the first time I was in El Salvador because of the raw fish aspect, but it's now something I look forward to.  The mix of flavours combining the lime juice, salt and heat from the peppers is addictive.  Gluten Free beer is difficult to come by in El Salvador, but it would make a perfect accompaniment.  My Salvadoran in-laws suggest rum and coconut water as a substitute, or just coconut water for children. Enjoy!

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