At long last we’ve had a week of fantastic weather…I swear it’s like an intensive treatment for my mood! I wake up to a shiny day, already predisposed to enjoy it…wheareas to a cloudy, rainy one…I get more melancholic! And yes, Linguini has to suffer it! This weekend I was determined to make the most out of it, so it wouldn’t just pass me by without noticing…and it worked! I’m recharged for the forthcoming week (though I haven’t done the things I should have for work…well, you can’t have it all, and my priorities were clear this time!).
Profiting such warm & shiny days I made this refreshing dish. This is really more of a summer dish for me, though in Peru it’s a all year round one. But I still had some of the “peruvian” limes my brother had brought me from Brasil after a conversation on the best lime to use for this dish. He told me he had read about this type of lime, which they call “limão galego” (Lemon from Galicia) in the interesting Brasilian blog Come-se, which matched my description of the peruvian limes I had tried years ago in Madrid Fusion when Peru was the guest country and Chef Wong himself was preparing the ceviches with all ingredients (even the fish) brought from Peru.
When we tried it we knew it was it! Much more sour than the usual lime, but after marinating with the fish of choice, the diluted juice is sooo tasty! Much smaller, lighter in colour on the outside, with some pips…but perfect for ceviche! The other lime doesn’t give the dish the same quick! Also…no comparison for the pisco sour! If there were any doubts about whether this limão galego is the same lime as the peruvian one, after a more recent visit from my brother to Lima, he confirmed for sure!
I was introduced to ceviche when I was 15, as our family moved to Peru, and I liked it from the moment I tried it. I’ve always liked fish on the underdone side, so I love the texture of the fish cooked with acid rather than with heat. I understand some people may not like the idea, but I assure you that unless you are not keen on the texture, the taste is far from that of raw fish (needless to say you can use any fish, but it should be VERY fresh)! The soury notes from the lime, the mild heat (or not so mild…as you decide to make it) from the chilies, the traces of the sweeter red onion infused in the juice and it’s crunchy contrast to the soft flesh of the monkfish, rounded up with a marriage to some shredded cilantro…make this easy to make dish deliciouuuussssly fresh and tasty! So, why don’t you give it a try and decide for yourself if you like it?
Deliciously refreshing monkfish ceviche
(enough as an appetiser for 4)
~4oog of really fresh monkfish*
~1/2 of a red onion (or a bit less…it’s not onion with fish, but fish with onion!)
~1/3 red bird eye chili (or adjust to your heat tolerance)**
~4-5 limes (or more to squeeze out enough juice to half-cover the fish)
salt and freshly milled pepper
fresh coriander leaves
*You could use any other very fresh white fish without fibers with firm flesh, like grouper, sole, corvina, etc.
**In Perú they use a different chili, ají limo-both yellow and red, or even rocoto chilli but here they’re imposible to find!!
So, for the super easy step by step to this dish…Prep your fish unless your fishmonger has already filleted it for you. I can’t stress enough how a very fresh fish is the key #1 to a good ceviche!
Then, just slice it and then cut it in squares the size you’d like (the smaller, the less time they’ll take to cook with the acid from the lime juice). I like about 2-2,5cm pieces…
Place them in a bowl, season with salt and freshly milled pepper and squeeze out lime juice to half cover (the lime on the right is the peruvian as compared to the Brasilian lime).
It’s important to press the juice right away and not before mixing with the fish, or it gets a funny flavour. Also, to juice by hand over the fish is best, so that you don’t press too much to get to the bitter juice of the flesh in contact with the skin. Also, I prefer to not completely cover the fish, so I can serve it with all that precious juice, which in Peru is called “leche de tigre” allegedly good for hangovers, instead of having to remove some. So I keep turning the fish pieces every now and then for a homogeneous “cooking”. Also, I place it in the fridge, so it is really cool when I serve it.
When the fish looks mat white rather than translucid, it is ready! It may take anywhere from a few minutes to over 30 minutes, depending on the size of the pieces. I left mine for about 15 minutes, as soon as the outside had changed the colour lightly…but check first! The truth is that now in Peru it is now most often prepared and served right away, and to serve it super fresh &cool, it is either done over a bowl of ice or some ice is added as all ingredients are mixed in and then removed…but I still prefer to let it “cook” a bit.
Then, just finish it up with some finely sliced onion, a touch of chilies (these you can add to the lime juice as you marinate the fish) or as much as you like (I cut them in rounds for looks…as long as they are very finely shredded!) and correct seasoning if needed…
Y ya está! Enjoy it!..both fish and juice!
Some other time I will introduce you to a different kind of ceviche I learnt that I love, which is served with a ginger & onion infused coconut milk. In the meanwhile I hope you enjoy this peruvian one!