Since I've been recently fiddling with a Tahitian version of ceviche, I've been flashing back to the very first ceviche I've ever had. I must have been very young, probably a freshman in high school sleeping over at one of my best friends' house whose family is Mexican and where I learned most of the Spanish I still am able to speak today. There must have been a social event that day or maybe the uncles were coming over, but everybody was cutting or chopping something at the kitchen table around a massive metallic bowl. Each person had a task, and I happily joined in the fun (being slow at chopping at that age but glad to be participating nonetheless). When I asked about the final product, I was told it was Ceviche and that I would love it.
Raw fish? No Way!
At that age, I didn't know anything. I thought I didn't like fish, but oh how wrong I was about that!!
I was told not to worry, that it wasn't really raw because the lime juice would cook it, and that I should at least taste it. If I didn't like it it wouldn't be a big deal (there were so many other things to eat.)
When the time came, my friend prepared the tostada for me and heavily squirted it with Valentina hot sauce.
I was seduced.
After that, I would order it whenever it was on a menu, and when I moved to France, I never saw it again until I found a Peruvian restaurant that had it (each country or even region has its own version of ceviche). I found it exhilarating to be eating ceviche again.. especially in France, and made a mental note to myself to give it a shot.
After succeeding with the Tahitian Poisson Cru, and hearing about a wine bar in Lyon that served ceviche.. the time had come to make this myself. I can't be letting some wine bar give my French friends their first introduction to ceviche! I have to give them the same debut recipe that started me out on it.
And it's a perfect debut to the dinner parties I'll be hosting in my new house =)
450g (1 lb) blue ling (julienne in French) or other firm white fish
raw shrimp, deveined and cubed (I didn't have this)
1 red onion, chopped
1/2 cucumber, chopped
1 green onion, chopped
1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped
1 tomato, chopped
1-2 jalapeños or serrano chiles, diced
few pinches fleur de sel
many grinds black pepper
juice from 3-4 limes
few hefty squirts Tapatio, Valentina, Cholula or equivalent hot sauce (salsa para botana)
1 avocado, sliced
tostadas for serving (I used tortilla chips)
1. Remove any bones from the fish and chop into small cubes. Do not make mincemeat out of it, but keep it only slightly bigger than your cucumber pieces.
2. In a large bowl, place all the chopped veggies, salt, and pepper and place the chopped fish on top.
3. Squeeze all the lime juice onto the fish and add some squirts of Tapatio sauce. Stir well making the mixture homogenous.
4. Once everything is evenly mixed, refrigerate for 2-4 hours. This is where the lime juice will "cook" the fish and the cucumbers will release some liquid, making a nice tangy broth.
5. Serve over tostadas with avocado slices and extra squirts of Tapatio.
If you are like me and live in a land too far away from Mexico for tostadas to be available, no access to masa, and the only corn tortillas available are ridiculously priced, and even if they were reasonably priced, it is too dang hot to be cooking anything in oil....you can in this case (and only in this case) use corn tortilla chips.
I would have to go back and taste the Madre's version again to be sure, but as far as my brain is concerned, this is exactly how it was (minus the shrimp). My heart fluttered the same way with the first bite, and the expression on my guests faces satisfied my curiosity as well.
They just didn't have extra Tapatio squirted on theirs.
This is a perfect meal during blistering heat. I know I shouldn't really complain about the heat.. I do come from the desert where 37°C 99°F is standard and we have even gone up to 53°C 127°F in August. It's just that I never thought I'd end up missing A/C in France.
I named it Guadalajara Style because the family from which I extracted this recipe (that I based on my memory of that experience 18 years ago but is still vivid in my mind) is originally from that region of Mexico. After looking around, though, I noticed it's mostly all of Baja that makes it this way.. including San Diego and LA.. and that awesome flea market somewhere near La Puente...
aaah the lovely memories...