Plus the local halibut season just ended and I’ve got a season wrap-up to share along with my recipe for cooking it with a rhubarb ginger glaze.
Oh well, I’ll get to those things when I get to them. I’m writing this for fun after all.
Right now though, I’m going to give you a recipe that transitions us from those spot prawns we were catching a few weeks ago, to the afore mentioned ling cod.
Last week I was fortunate enough to attend a Salsa Party at the home of friends. Aside from being a flimsy excuse to get together and drink, like any good party, here the guests were invited make a batch of salsa to bring and enter into a friendly competition. Now there was no way I was going to jump into a salsa competition myself. As a Chef, there is no good outcome to participating in a cooking contest amonst friends. If I were to win, I’d be the professional that beat a bunch of home cooks, and if someone else were to win I’d be the professional who didn’t beat a bunch of home cooks. That’s a lose/lose, much in the way that getting into a wrestling match with a girl is, except a salsa contest is somewhat less likely to turn sexy.
Fortunately Meagan, the party hostess and a fishing buddy of mine, was kind enough to make me one of the contest judges; so I was still able to participate. I got to do two of my favorite things, taste delicious food and pass judgement over people, all while drinking no less. PAR-TAY!
Even though I wasn’t making salsa, I did want to contribute to the food table. I still had some spot prawns on hand and I recently caught a ling cod. Since the party already had a Mexican inspired food theme, ceviché seemed like an obvious choice.
Ceviché in and of itself, is a very simple dish: seafood, lime juice, perhaps cilantro. From there, you often find it dressed up more with onions, tomatoes, peppers, etc. My own version is dolled up to the point that I really couldn’t argue if you were to say it’s not really ceviché. You may prefer to think of it as a citrus seafood salad. Oh well, ceviché or not, it’s a delicious dish.
At the core of ceviché is that instead of using heat, the acid from citrus juice “cooks” the seafood. My recipe employs that technique, but I do add a little char and smoke flavor by giving the seafood a quick, light “cheat sear” on hot grill. If you do that as well, just make sure it is still mostly raw when it comes off that grill or else the fish will end up tough and won’t absorb as much of the other flavors of the dish.
Spot Prawn & Lingcod Ceviché
- 1 lb ling cod filet*
- 1 lb spot prawns (or other shrimp) peeled & deveined*
- 3 oranges
- 3 lemons
- 3 limes
- 2 ripe avocados, peeled & sliced
- 2 jalapenos, split, seeded and sliced thin**
- 1 large tomato, diced
- 1/2 red onion, sliced thin
- 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
- 1/4 cup ketchup
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tsp hot sauce, I use Cholula
- kosher salt, to taste
Lightly season the seafood with salt, pepper and a small amount of olive oil. Heat a grill or grill skillet to high. Very quickly sear the seafood on the grill so that it has marks on the outside but is still mostly raw. Note: the smokier the grill is, the better flavor you’re going to get.
Refrigerate the seafood immediately.
Cut two of each of the citrus fruit into supremes, squeezing any extra juice you can out of the excess membranes. Then juice the remaining one of each fruit.
Stir together the citrus juice, ketchup, hot sauce and olive oil. Mix in the vegetables and citrus and then season with salt if needed.
Cut the fish into large chunks and split the shrimp in half lengthwise, or they can be left whole if you prefer.
Gently fold the seafood into the ceviché mixture, being careful not to break up either the fish or the fruits/veggies. Refrigerate for about 2 hours and then check seasoning once more before serving.
* This recipe can be used with just about any combination of seafood. I’ve used it with only shrimp, tuna, salmon and other seafood, and they are all delicious. Experiment with your favorites and let me know how they come out.
** I like my ceviché mostly on the mild side. If you like it with more kick, leave the jalapeno seeds in, or use spicier chilies such as serranos or habaneros. The same thing applies with the type and amout of hot sauce you choose to use.