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VOL. 36 | NO. 34 | Friday, August 24, 2012

Chef Jorge works wonders with Ceviche

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This past week, hubby and I went on a short, but much-needed vacation. Much-needed for him, anyway.

When he is here he works non-stop, so I often try to get him out of the work place, where he is then like a different person. And it makes our time together so much fun.

We went to Los Cabos, Mexico, again. It is fast becoming our “go-to” place, mainly because it is so easy and it is almost our home away from home since the staff is becoming so familiar with us.

We are rewards members at the hotel where we stay, and our room is usually cost-free, so you can see why this is an inexpensive way to spend a few days.

We don’t do much when we get there. In fact, we usually just hang around at the pool, eating nachos and soaking in the sun. That is exactly what we did again this time. Our weight shows it, too! We have done tours and other activities in the past, but now we just enjoy wasting away time at the pool and taking quiet walks on the beach.

Anyway, this time one of the chefs at the hotel held a cooking class. It was something new and so much fun. It was held at one of the poolside restaurants, so the class was very informal, which made it even more fun. Usually, I would have pooh-poohed anything that sounded like work, but this caught my eye because of what they were making.

And because it is very seldom that I get to watch a Mexican chef creating something delicious!

What Chef Jorge prepared was ceviche. I have noticed a revival of sorts for ceviche in the last year or so. I say revival because it is showing up on many menus in fancier restaurants and tapas bars. It is, however, an age-old food. It was so good! I am really glad I decided to attend because it was fun, good and not the least bit like work.

Don’s brother, Jerry, took Don and me to an upscale “hip” new restaurant in downtown Chicago about two years ago, and Jerry ordered ceviche as an appetizer. It came in three flavors, which I guess now were three types of fish, but since I did not know how it was prepared, and I did know that it was made with raw fish, I turned down all three.

I guess I am the one that missed out! It was probably quite tasty. I had not heard of ceviche at that time, but now I hear of it quite a bit.

According to whatscookingamerica.com, ceviche is an old-world dish from South America. Both Peru and Ecuador claim to be the birthplace, and it could have hailed from either since both have an abundance of fish at their disposal.

Peru claims ceviche as their national dish. I don’t know exactly what that means, though. Does America have a national dish? Would it be pizza? Hot dogs? Just wondering.

Ceviche is usually served as a dip-type appetizer, so there is always some kind of “dipper” or other accompaniment. Most times, the accompaniment will indicate the country of origin. In Peru, for example, it is served with slices of cold sweet potatoes or corn-on-the-cob. In Ecuador, popcorn, nuts or corn nuts accompany it. Mine was definitely Spanish because it was served with nachos, made on the spot.

Ceviche can also be spelled seviche or cebiche, and I have seen it spelled all three ways so I guess it depends on the chef.

Ceviche means “marinated fish.” It is fish or seafood “cooked” in limejuice and served with diced tomatoes, chilies and cilantro. The ceviche I made – listen to me! I did not make it; I was just standing there watching! The ceviche I saw prepared had all three ingredients plus some of my favorite other things. Here’s the recipe Chef Jorge prepared, and if you have never tried or made ceviche, I can strongly recommend this recipe. It is fun to make and delicious to eat! Chef Jorge did not have a name for his creation, so I call it Jorge’s Ceviche.

Jorge’s Ceviche

2 pounds sea bass
1 cup of fresh squeezed limejuice
1 tablespoon sea salt
1 large white onion, finely diced
1 bunch cilantro, chopped
3 large tomatoes, diced
1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced
3 avocados, peeled and diced
2 Serrano chilies, finely diced
Black pepper to taste

Chop sea bass and marinate in limejuice and sea salt for 45 to 60 minutes. Most of the limejuice will be absorbed. Dice and chop all ingredients as instructed and then mix in with sea bass. Blend well and serve with nachos, or refrigerate until ready to serve. (Do not add avocado until ready to serve.)

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