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Ceviche with lime juice April 25, 2010

Posted by inspiredbywolfe in Fish.
Tags: ,

“…an unearned fee is like raw fish – it fills the stomach but is hard to digest.”
– Nero Wolfe, in Gambit.

I must respectfully disagree with Nero Wolfe about his views on raw fish. But then again, Nero Wolfe never had Michael Ruhlman to teach him the ways of ceviche.

This dish came about quite by accident. An obliging co-worker had purchased a kilo of limes from the nearby market, and had left some out for people to take. I took a couple, figuring I’d find a use for them somehow – and at the very least I’d use them to make a cocktail or two. On the same day, H was saying how he wanted something light for dinner (apparently medieval stews and eggs with butter weren’t light enough for some reason) and I also caught up on my reading of Ruhlman’s blog. Lo and behold! Rhulman had recently posted about ceviche.

Ceviche, for those who are unaware, is raw fish that is cooked by marinating it in citrus juice – in this case, lime juice. The minimum time you need to leave the fish in the lime juice is about 30 minutes, but you can leave it anywhere to up to 6 hours. I used some (Australiasian) snapper I already had at home, and began by chopping it up into small(ish) chunks.

I needed 1/2 cup of lime juice for about 450g of fish. This took all the juice of the 2 limes I had. I also chopped up an onion and mixed the lime juice and onion in with the fish. Ruhlman also suggests adding a jalapeno chili at this stage; however, I didn’t have any chilis in the house so I added a dash of cayenne pepper instead.

As you can see, as soon as the lime juice hit the fish it started curing it! I left it for around 30 minutes. In the meantime, I had sliced up some capsicum into quite small pieces, and added it to the (now cured) fish.

To complete the dish, I added some more capsicum on top, and a little bit of salt and pepper.

I’ll admit that my finished dish doesn’t look as delicious as Ruhlman’s does – but I’ll bet it’s just as tasty! This was a beautiful dish. It was light and flavoursome. The lime juice definitely came through but so did the fish. It wasn’t immediately fishy and the texture was unlike other fish – both raw and cooked – I’d had in the past. I think that the addition of jalapenos would be a nice touch but even without them, this was a fantastic dish. While I’ll happily make this again straight away, it would be a great summer dish in particular. Even Nero Wolfe may have to change his mind about raw fish if he tried this dish!


1. gs - April 25, 2010

Technically, I’m not sure that ceviche can be considered “raw” fish. The chemical changes induced by the citric acid are similar in some ways to those induced by cooking with heat. Except, you know, without heat :), which is what makes ceviche so refreshing.

If the Big Guy could ever be persuaded to sample sushi, I think he would find it to his liking. But, on the other hand, I’m not sure he could ever be persuaded to try it.

Thanks for this post! It was refreshing, just like ceviche.

inspiredbywolfe - April 26, 2010

Ha! You’re right, gs, ceviche is of course techncially cooked. However I thought the quote was too good not to use 🙂

I was wondering if Wolfe would eat sushi when I was writing it. I agree if he could be persuaded to try it, he’d probably like it. But he’d have to find his own supplier, make sure they raise the fish to his specifications and then someone would need to teach Fritz how to cut it for sushi…..

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