Friday, March 16, 2007
The weather is improving and it is feeling like it could be ceviche time again. I do not often like ceviche, it is often over done. Too much lime, too many ingredients, too long marinated. My first, as often is the case, was perhaps my best. A now defunct sushi restaurant in Florida had a very nice ceviche, well balanced with spicey red chilis, not too tart, with sugar to balance, and just enough salt. The place I work now has a ceviche of the day, which is to me a bad idea. It is too often cobbled together with left over ingredients and poorly conceived. The version pictured was one I considered carefully before assembling. The halved shrimp rest on slices of scallop, all marinated for a few hours in a mild mix of lemon, lime, honey, salt and citrus soda. At the end I topped with sea salt and a bit more fresh lemon juice for a bright, fresh flavor. The orange slices and firm red grapes added more sweetness and complexity, scallions offered a touch of grassy counterpoint, and the micro greens looked pretty on top but were not really necessary. For more thinly sliced fish a much more brief marinade will do, depending on the amount of acidity applied. On a recent tasting at a Chicago ceviche bar, one incorporated coconut milk to good effect but was sadly unsalted. For such a simple dish it is still important to have an experienced and thoughtful cook composing, and salt is nice too.