Wednesday, June 2, 2010
Admittedly, there has been some not-awesome stuff clinging, like a bitchy barnacle, to the four walls of our house. However, we are weathering through and thank-you all so much for your kind words and well-wishes. Your support has been wonderful.
Today I'm happy to share some super-awesome with you. Yep, it's not all thunder and storm clouds over here--we've got serious sunshine, too. Her name is Daniela and she's a student from Torreon, Mexico. She's staying with us until July, touring the state and helping me keep The Minxes entertained. Her twin, Alejandra, is staying nearby, so oftentimes, we're lucky enough to get a double dose of sunshine in our house. The Minxes are over the moon, they're so in love.
Dani and Ale have been craving a few foods from their hometown, and I've been having a lot of fun trying to re-create those dishes. One of their desires has been for ceviche, a salad of raw or barely cooked seafood that's marinated in a spicy citrus dressing. We ordered it for lunch a few days ago at a sunny Boulder cafe; as soon as we took our first bites, we knew it wasn't going to suffice.
"There's too much filler in there," Dani said, squinting at the plate. "You can hardly find the fish."
"Where's the lime?" Ale asked. "It's supposed to taste like lime."
"This isn't spicy at all!" I said. "Aren't there supposed to be chiles in there?"
Hrumph. Clearly, in order to get this right at all, we were going to have to make it ourselves. But, ummm...I've never made ceviche and raw fish kind of skeebs me out.
Not that the fish is really raw once it gets to your plate; the lemon-lime dressing actually "cooks" the fish, so it's really quite safe to eat, honest.
When searching for a go-to recipe for ceviche, I decided that I really couldn't go wrong with Reichl. The woman in charge of Gourmet magazine (may it rest in peace) certainly isn't a hack; she knows good food. I found this recipe for Shellfish Watermelon Ceviche in The Gourmet Cookbook, and it sounded like a winner.
Juicy watermelon, sharp chiles, lightly poached seafood, and a bright kick from orange and ginger? What's not to like?
We scooped up bites of that lusciousness with sturdy, salty tortilla chips and basked in the accomplishment of getting it right. Sometimes, there's nothing finer.
Shellfish Watermelon Ceviche
serves 6 as a first course
1 navel orange
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1/2 cup diced (1/4-inch) seeded watermelon
1/2 teaspoon finely grated peeled fresh ginger
1 1/2 tablespoons finely diced red onion
2-3 teaspoons finely chopped jalapeno or serrano chile (to taste), including seeds
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 pound sea scallops, tough side muscle removed from each if necessary, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/4 pound large shrimp in shells, peeled, deveined, and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/4 pound cooked lobster, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
3 small heads bibb lettuce, leaves separated (optional)
Cut and peel white pith from orange with a sharp paring knife, then cut segments free from membranes. Chop enough segments to measure 1/4 cup; discard remainder or save for another use. Combine chopped orange, orange juice, lime juice, watermelon, ginger, onion, jalapeno and salt in a large bowl and stir until combined.
Bring a 1-quart saucepan of well-salted water to a boil, then add scallops and poach at a bare simmer until just cooked through, about 1 minute. With a slotted spoon, transfer scallops to a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking. Return water to a boil and add shrimp; poach at a bare simmer until just cooked through, about 1 minute. Drain and transfer to a bowl of ice water.
Drain scallops and shrimp well and pat dry.
Add scallops, shrimp, lobster, and mint to watermelon mixture and toss to combine, then season with salt. Refrigerate, covered, for at least 1 hour and up to 3 hours.
Serve ceviche with lettuce leaves on the side, if desired (use a slotted spoon for transferring ceviche to leaves).