As I’d mentioned, I was very fortunate to receive a very generous gift from the kind folks at Kona Blue, so as promised, I thought I’d share with you all the ways I put this delicious fish to good use. Today, I opted for another raw preparation of this sushi-grade, tender, fish that really lets it shine: ceviche.
Also known as “cebiche” and “seviche,” the idea to this dish is simple: high quality, fresh fish, “cooked,” but without heat. Instead, you chemically cook the fish by employing a brief bath of acidic marinade composed of citrus. Each country in Latin America puts their own twist on this, but essentially you have a seafood salad where the fish becomes tender and takes on the flavors of the marinade and the other sharply flavored vegetables you mix into this. Plus, talk about simple to put together–have you ever marinated something? Yea, its really that easy.
My take on this dish (based on what I’ve read–please correct me if I’m wrong!) seems closest in style to Panama and Chile as I opted for lime and grapefruit in my marinade as well as a bit more heat (I used habaneros) and while the fish of choice isn’t the same, its kind of similar in style. Semantics aside (I only get myself in trouble by doing this), this was very tasty. It wasn’t spicy, fishy, or any one flavor–you’d think something so simple wouldn’t result in such a coherent flavor, but it surprisingly did. It just tasted bright, fresh, juicy, acidic, warm, and like the sea. Its a tough one to accurately describe, but if you like strong South American flavors and good fish, this is for you.
- ~1/2 lb Kona Kampachi
- 2 limes
- 1 grapefruit
- 1 shallot
- 1 tomato
- 1 ear of corn
- small knob of butter
- handful cilantro
- 1 habanero
- 1 cayenne
- 1 serrano
- 1 avocado
Begin by juicing the citrus. Squeeze the lime and grapefruit juice in a bowl.
Just a friendly reminder about who the star of the show is.
Chop the fish into bite-sized pieces, roughly 1/2 inch or so in size. If you’re working with a whole fish like I was, this is a great opportunity to use some of your less beautiful, awkward sized cuts of meat. Nobody will be the wiser, so don’t let it leave this room, ok?
Submerge the fish chunks in the juice and set this aside in the fridge for 30 minutes. The longer it marinates, the more it “cooks.” Feel free to do less, too.
Meanwhile, prepare the vegetables. Only one item here needs any cooking: the corn! So start with that–husk it, remove the silk, try not to get too excited in the process, cut off the kernels, and briefly sauté in a hot pan with a small melted knob of butter for about 5 minutes.
And now, simply dice up the rest of the veggies to your liking. Finely chop the peppers, tomatoes, cilantro, cut rings of the shallot, and smallish chunks of the avocado. Add this to the marinating fish mixture and let this continue to rest for about 30 more minutes so that these flavors can join the party.
Before you dig in, optionally drain off the liquid, let things come back up to room temperature, season to taste, and dig in. Consider serving it with lightly toasted tortillas and/or sweet potatoes.