MANGO PINEAPPLE CEVICHE
Cured in lemon or lime juice, ceviche is a raw fish specialty of the coastal regions of Latin America. I first tried ceviche when I was a student in Mexico in the 1980's. An instant aficionado, it has been a favorite menu choice in Costa Rica, New York, London, Australia, Key Biscayne, Puerto Rico, Brazil, Chili, Argentina, and Rhode Island. From each tasting, regional nuances emerge that imprint fish preparation preferences. Peruvian style ceviche is revered for its leche de tigre, medallions of yam, and toasted chancha (roasted corn nuts). Mexican ceviche, as expected, will have a spicy note with a variety of chilis including jalapeño and a dash of tabasco. Costa Rican ceviche may be the most surprising with its addition of 7 Up, Ginger Ale, or Sprite. The favorite, however, is one from a hole-in-the-wall beachside shack in Santa Monica, California. Of course it has lovely Haas avocado. However, it is the bright, fresh notes of pineapple and mango that truly set this ceviche apart from the rest. Perfect ceviche is a delicate balance of flavors--too much acid and the fish does little for the palate other than induce puckering. Too spicy and the subtle taste of the fish is lost. Texture, acidity, sweetness, and color are all needed to create a harmonious fusion of this thousands of years old seafood classic. Ceviche served in margarita glasses for summer lunch, or small glass bowls as a first course, makes an elegant, healthy summer plate.
Nota bene: Only the finest, fresh, medium firm white fish will do—sea bass, mahi mahi, halibut, or sea bream are fine substitutions for the snapper. Cod works too, but as a firm fish, must be "cooked" twice as long in the acid. If cilantro and parsley microgreens are available, do substitute! Keep fish refrigerated until just before preparation. Do choose sustainable fish--the oceans will thank you.
3/4 pound boneless red snapper filet, skin removed cut into ½ inch cubes
6 diver scallops, cut into 1/2" cubes
8 medium shrimp, peeled, deveined, and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 cup tequila
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
1 fairly mild red chili, seeded and minced
2 mangoes, peeled, pitted, and chopped into 1/2 inch cubes
1/2 cup pineapple, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1/2 cup red onion, finely chopped
1 avocado, peeled, pitted, and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 small bunch cilantro, chopped or 1/2 cup cilantro micro greens
1/2 bunch Italian parsley, finely chopped
1 teaspoon sea salt
Thinly sliced lemon & lime for garnish
1. Put the fish, scallops, and shrimp in a non-reactive bowl and toss gently with the sea salt.
2. Add the lime and lemon juices, minced jalapeno and red chilis, and ½ of the mango cubes. Refrigerate for 1½ hours.
3. Add red onion to mixture and let sit for another 30 minutes.
4. Fold in the pineapple, avocado, cilantro, and parsley. Test for seasoning and add sea salt to taste just before serving.