October 1997

Acapulco, Mexico 27 October 1997 No, unfortunately we haven't just nipped over to Acapulco for the weekend (though now that the clocks have gone back and the nights are drawing in so quickly we would sorely love to). This week's recipe, however, comes from that crazy, wild Mexican resort (well, Mexican-ish) on the Pacific seaboard. We made it for our friends, Debbie and Steve, who have just returned to Devon after a year in Southern Californian and who are perhaps feeling just a tad homesick for the vivid colors and flavors of the West Coast. Indeed, the zesty, seafresh scents of this classic, mildly spiked with jalapeño and overlayered with the pungent flavor of cilantro, transports me back too to my childhood days, first in Mexico where I was born and then in Southern California where we grew up.
Ceviche is supremely simple to prepare, the method of "cooking" fish in lime juice a well-documented method enjoyed throughout Central America. We learned this version some years ago from the chef at the Posadita Restaurant of the Acapulco Princess Hotel and it was first published in Taste Magazine.

Ceviche Acapulco Princess

500 g/ 1 lb really fresh white fish fillets (cod, haddock, sea bass, sea bream, red snapper)

150 ml/ 1/4 pt freshly squeezed lime juice (about 5 or 6 limes) wedges of avocado and lettuce leaves to garnish

For the Sauce

4 tablespoons olive oil

3 garlic cloves, finely chopped

4 large tomatoes, blanched, peeled, seeded and finely chopped

1 small onion, finely chopped

Handful of fresh coarsely chopped coriander (cilantro)

1 fresh green chilli, seeded and finely chopped

3-4 pickled jalapeño chillies, finely chopped

4 tablespoons tomato juice

2 tablespoons tomato purée

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1/4 teaspoon dried oregano

Salt and pepper

15-20 whole green olives

Skin and bone the fish fillets, picking out the small bones with tweezers, if necessary. Cut into even cubes of about 1 cm/1/2 inch. Place in a glass or china bowl and add the lime juice. Mix well and cover with a plate. Place in a cool area and leave to pickle, stirring from time to time until the fish is ready. The time varies with the type of fish used, but 6-8 hours or overnight is required for firm white fish such as cod or sea bass. To tell when the fish is ready, crumble a cube and check that the flesh is opaque all the way through.
While the fish is marinating, prepare the ceviche sauce. Heat the olive oil and sauté the chopped garlic briefly until it colors slightly. Cool. Mix all the remaining sauce ingredients together. Add the cooled garlic and oil to the sauce mixture and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Drain the fish and add it to the sauce mixture. Mix well and chill in the fridge. Serve in tall glasses decorated with lettuce leaves and wedges of avocado. In Mexico, ceviche is always eaten with crackers.

Wine or drinks suggestions:A freshly made margarita cocktail is a nice aperitif before enjoying a bowl of ceviche. Alternatively, serve with Mexican beer such as Sol or Dos Equis from the bottle, or with a pungent, grassy Sauvignon from Chile.

Copyright © Marc Millon 2000


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Copyright © Marc and Kim Millon 2000