Ceviche is like the margarita of food: bright, acidic, crowd-pleasing, intoxicating, just exotic enough, simple to make, and perfect morning noon and night.
It's also a super-fast and relatively inexpensive meal to pull together. I don't know about you, but I usually have a bunch of limes and a bit of red onion and herbs on hand, so my shopping list for ceviche is usually pretty short.
I've got this great ceviche book called The Great Ceviche Book, which I've thumbed through hundreds of times, yet never thought to use for a recipe, until yesterday. Watermelon was calling my name, and I figured this book found a use for that magical melon. It sure did. With tuna.
The recipe called for some stuff that I couldn't be bothered with, like lemon oil and yuzu juice. And tarragon. And candied kumquats in syrup. Good grief. Let's not make this too complicated, ya know? It's ceviche for fuck's sake.
My version went like this:
- 4 ounces watermelon (seedless), cut into quarter inch cubes
- 1/2 lb tuna, cut into quarter inch cubes
- 1 T sambal oelek, which seems to be available everywhere now, including Amazon of course.
- 4 T fresh lime juice. That means juice, from limes, that you squeezed.
- 1 T Ponzu
- Thinly sliced red onion
- Chiffonade of Thai basil (or regular basil)
- Chopped chives
- Chopped cilantro
- Salt to taste
This can pulled together directly before serving, as you really don't need to cook the tuna in the citrus. In fact it's preferable if the tuna doesn't spend too much time in the citrus at all.
- Mix the all of the ingredients together in a bowl, except for the herbs.
- Salt to taste.
- Toss in the herbs and serve.
This dish is really super, and I recommend going herb-heavy. You've got the sweetness of the watermelon, the fatty mouthfeel of the tuna, a butt load of herbs, the slightly spicy and peppery sambal. All sorts of textures and flavors. Damned perfect.
I was also looking to make a white fleshed fish ceviche. I found this recipe on the New York Times website, and used it as baseline. There was really no need, though. I already knew I'd be using a white fleshed fish, onion, jalapeño, and cilantro. I did not, however, think of garlic, or the sweet move of serving it over spinach. Yay New York Times recipe. Next time, though, I'll be grabbing an avocado, because adding an avocado is almost always an excellent idea.
- 1/2 lb cod, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
- enough lime juice to cover the cod in a bowl
- Oh hell, just read the NYT recipe. I'll never understand why people take recipes from the internet and copy them wholesale onto their own shitty blogs. It's like, "Look what I did. I stole this. Here, it's for you now. Share with your friends so they see I stole this too. I want everyone to know that I don't have an original thought in my body."
I should note that margaritas do indeed pair well with these dishes. And don't underestimate the appropriateness of a cold beer or a tropical fruit-forward white wine like Falanghina.