10 August 2014

Newfound-Ceviche

We're at the tail end of the summer food fishery.  Put away your pans and deep fryers and let the last of your fresh cod cook itself in the refrigerator.


In this ceviche, the cod and scallop are cooked by the acid in the liquid.  That means you don't have to heat up your kitchen; a bonus during the dog days of summer.



Cod & Scallop Ceviche


1/2 lb fresh or thawed cod, chopped coarsely
1/2 lb fresh or thawed scallops, chopped coarsely*
3-5 cloves garlic, smashed and coarsely chopped
2-5 (or more) hot red peppers, cut in half lengthwise
1-1/2 c. chopped fresh cilantro
1 tsp coarse sea salt
4 limes, juiced
1/2 grapefruit, juiced
Use sea salt in this recipe because, well, the sea is where
the star ingredients come from.
2 tbsp silver tequila
Use glass or other non-reactive material.  Jars work well
because the high sides help reduce the amount of citrus
juice required to cover everything.

*if you use tiny bay scallops, don't bother chopping

Once all the prep work is done, this recipe is dead simple.

In a clean 1 litre glass jar** spread 1/5 of the cilantro, garlic and peppers over the bottom.  Top with 1/4 of the cod and scallops.  Add another layer of cilantro, garlic and peppers and 1/4 tsp of salt.  Continue to layer the fish and seasonings, ending with a seasoning layer.

**or use a glass bowl but you may need additional citrus juice to cover the fish; the tall narrowness of a jar helps minimize the amount of juice required... and with the price of limes this year, it's a definite advantage


Use a spoon handle or knife along the edges of the jar to
release pockets and bubbles of air.
Mix the lime and grapefruit juice with the tequila.  Pour into the jar.  This will cover or nearly cover your fish. Run a knife or spoon handle around the edge of the jar to release air bubbles.  If the fish mixture is not completely covered in liquid, add more lime juice.

Cover and refrigerate for 12-36 hours.  Check that the fish and scallops are opaque right through before serving (if not opaque, return to fridge for a few more hours).  How quickly the ceviche will cure depends on how cold your fridge is, how acidic your citrus fruit was, and how big your coarse chopping is.

Use a fork or slotted spoon to remover from jar and serve on grilled sweet potato slices (see below).

Reserve the curing liquid and mix it into fresh salsa the next day.



Grilled Sweet Potato Rounds


sweet potatoes 
drizzle of sunflower oil
pinch or two of salt



Discovering that sweet potato can be cooked directly on
the grill was a culinary epiphany of the best sort.
Pre-heat your grill scorching hot.

Slice sweet potatoes into 1/4" thick rounds.  Toss with oil and salt.

Put sweet potato rounds directly on the grill in a single layer and immediately turn the grill down to medium heat.  If you have a charcoal grill or are using a griddle, use your own judgement with how to manage this shift in heat, I have no advice.

Cook for 4-6 minutes on each side.  You want the outside to blister and char a bit and the potato to cook through.  Salt lightly as you take them off the grill.

These are perfect as a base for ceviche, but are also good as a side for pretty much anything (and a simple but seriously delicious way to get your orange vegetable for the day).


~~~


Although this is not exactly an authentic recipe, it's inspired by the Peruvian style of ceviche with hot peppers and served with sweet potato.  It's best with sweet potato, but grilled avocado will also do in a pinch...
~~~

Summer in Newfoundland is always busy.  For starters, you can never be sure how much of it you'll get, so as soon as the weather turns you drop everything else and concentrate on summer: coaxing food out of the back garden, outdoor house projects... running, cycling or hiking without multiple layers, driving with the windows down, synthesizing vitamin D... turning the heat off in the house (at least during the day), whale watching, cocktails on the porch... and most importantly, after months of complaining about the cold and the damp and the unfairness of it all, finally taking a deep breath and saying, "it's too damned hot".

The other thing about Newfoundland summer is that, as astounding as it may seem for the foggiest place on earth, this island in the north Atlantic is something of a vacation destination.  Some years, before you know it, you are blocked solid with visitors.***

***Now don't take that as a complaint.  Visitors give us the excuse to do touristy things and the opportunity to show off some of the off-the-beaten-path secrets of this place.  And conscripting house guests to a work-for-your-food scheme**** resulted in speedy progress on The Fence Project, a good start on The Window Restoration Project, and knocking a bunch of items off the Round-To-It List.

****That sounds a bit cruel, I suppose, but in the interest of full disclosure, these particular guests insisted they wanted a project to work on... 

This has been a Summer of Visitors, thus a summer of especially good food.  (We can't have it be said that anyone ate poorly chez The Moose Curry Experience.)  It's been tricky though, since the fish truck that used to live across the harbour closed a couple years ago and the fish truck we stumbled across last year did not reappear this spring.  We were scrambling to find seafood closer to home than St. John's*****.  After many driving excursions wild goose chases, a failure of the power of social media, and some disappointingly not-as-fresh-as-it-should-be purchases from big chain groceries, we finally found a place hiding right under our noses.  Some good old fashioned postering brought the recently opened Admiral's Market to our attention.  If you're in Conception Bay North, you can find them in the boat-shaped building at the southside marina in Harbour Grace.  Both the scallops and the cod used in this dish were bought from the fabulous women who run the market.


Fresh cod and fresh scallops were bought locally from Admirals Market.
*****There are some good fish shops in St. John's and since I work there, it's not always inconvenient, but it means not being able to decide on a holiday or Saturday that it feels like a mussel night... plus, there's something nice about being able to spend your money in the community where you live.

To be frank, I was hoping to write a blog post about catching our own cod during the food fishery.  But that's a one-that-got-away story.  Er, a one that never bit story.  (Anyone who wants to help improve some mainlander jigging skills in September should leave a comment or send an email to the.moose.curry.experienceATgmail.com!)

Although the cod fishing was a bust, it's been a Summer of Perfect Cilantro.  Serendipitiously, Fefe Noir had the foresight to order several pounds of coriander seed this year and sow it in the bed where we buried the not-quite-composted bits from the old composter.  As a result, we have a serious bumper crop of cilantro.  Despite the unbearable heat (for those of you who will take pleasure in mocking our weather intolerance, we had about 3 weeks in the mid-high 20C range), there was no massive bolting event.  


Our cilantro crop is phenomenal this year.  Too bad none of our guests were as enthusiastic about it as we are...

An amazing cilantro year.  And five or six weeks of guests who don't particularly like cilantro.  Or very hot peppers.  Or very much raw garlic.

So as soon as the house was empty we started chopping... 


6 comments:

  1. Ashamed to say I've never made ceviche...but this one is getting a go in September for round two of food fishery for sure. YUM.

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    Replies
    1. by then, Lester Farms should have some hot peppers available too!

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  2. That looks wonderful and in the "dog days" the last thing you want to do is give them any hint that you are preparing dinner...that way they won't be begging for your fish ;)

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    1. the dogs were surprisingly disinterested, but I was definitely surrounded by persistent and demanding cats while making this!

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  3. This ceviche looks seriously delicious. I am almost drooling, just looking at it. Can't wait to one day visit your part of the world and feast on all of that amazing fresh Atlantic seafood.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you! It's one of our favorite meals.

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