Today´s recipe for the French Fridays with Dorie group is Winter Ceviche. This recipe for an essentially Latin American dish of fish cured in lime juice is fresh, vibrant and healthy.
Ceviche is, at its most basic, raw fish marinated in citrus juice and spices. The acid in the juice denatures the proteins in the meat in much the same way as cooking would. The flesh becomes opaque, the texture firmer and dryer, yet the flavors remain bright and fresh. A perfect dish for a sunny winter day it seems.
It goes without saying that any fish served raw should be spanking fresh, but, in general, there is no single species that is particularly favored for ceviche. It makes sense to use the local „Catch of the Day“ (if available) and the species you use should change depending on availability. While Dorie´s recipe calls for bay scallops, this recipe seemed to work equally well with fresh organic wild salmon, which is what I chose to use. In theory, any white fish can be used, but many fragile fish can become rubbery or totally dissolve in the lime juice.
The cut is also important, and suggestions range from largeish chunks (Dorie´s recipe calls for whole bay scallops or quartered sea scallops) to slicing the fish as thinly as possible. It is often said that dicing, rather than slicing, will ensure a good distribution of raw fish and fish cooked on the outside. I chose to dice my salmon for today´s recipe.
The chief marinating ingredient is, of course, citrus juice. Lime is most commonly used, but lemons and even oranges are sometimes used. It seems absolutely vital to use a generous amount of citrus – that way you get a good spoonful along with the fish.
Fresh and light, Dorie´s recipe also calls for seedless grapes (I used green as well as red grapes), mango nectar (I added cubes of fresh mango as well), extra-virgin olive oil (I used my beloved demure cold-pressed almond oil), natural brown sugar, grated zest and juice of one organic lemon and one lime, fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. All those ingredients taken together will be rather gentle to your taste buds. You can make the ceviche in advance, but no more than an hour or so. You could add fresh tarragon just before serving if you wish - I added fresh cress instead, no tarragon to be found anywhere today.
We loved this recipe and did not find the salmon too strong a flavor. It did take on the flavor of the fruity sharpness of limes and the pleasant sourness of lemons, and it did harmonize well with all the other ingredients such as the sweet grapes, mango nectar and small cubes of fresh mango.
To see whether the other members of the French Fridays with Dorie group enjoyed this week´s recipe, please go here.
For copyright reasons, we do not publish the recipes from the book. But you can find the recipe for “Winter Ceviche “ on page 177 in Dorie Greenspan´s cookbook "Around my French Table".