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Sea Bass Ceviche with Jicama and Avocado Slaw

This image courtesy of Joseph DeLeo

This recipe demonstrates the new thinking on ceviches in Peru. The idea nowadays is to greatly reduce the length of the marinating period. In a sense, you are making a dressing rather than a marinade. So now you don’t have to plan to make this the day before you want it—you can stop at your fishmonger on the way home and have ceviche on the table that night. Here I serve the sea bass in a bowl over ice, with bowls containing the chilled salad components. It is more or less a Japansese approach, and I like to use chopsticks to eat this ceviche. If you can get cancha (Latin American corn nuts) and toast them, they make a fantastic addition to this dish. I like to drizzle coconut milk onto the citrus juices after serving the ceviche. Or I garnish the plates with tiny dots of soy sauce and sesame oil.

NotesRecommended wine: A California Chardonnay with muscle and acidity, preferably from the Russian River Valley.Toasting and Grinding Spices, Nuts, and Seeds

Toasting and Grinding Spices, Nuts, and Seeds When Columbus went looking for Asia and bumped into the Americas, he was on a voyage financed by Spain with the understanding that he would find a better route to the spice markets of India—an illustration of how central spices have always been to cuisine. But spices, like other comestibles, are subject to loss of flavor if not properly prepared. Toasting whole spices, and, usually, grinding them, is the way to get maximum flavor from them. This is extremely easy to do: Gently warm the seeds or other whole spices in a dry skillet over medium heat. Once they become aromatic, they are toasted. When they have cooled a bit, grind them in a spice mill (or a clean coffee grinder) or with a mortar and pestle. Toasting and grinding awakens the oils and aromatics within them. With spices like pepper and cumin, for example, which are staples of my cooking, you can prepare a batch of the toasted ground spice and keep it around for up to 2 weeks.

The same principles apply to toasting nuts: the heat maximizes their flavor. Grinding makes them the proper consistency for cooking in soups and stews.

SERVES4

CostModerate

Total Timeunder 30 minutes

OccasionCasual Dinner Party, Cooking for a date

Recipe Coursecold appetizer

Dietary Considerationegg-free, low calorie, low carb, low-fat

Mealdinner

Taste and Texturecrunchy, herby, savory, tangy

Type of Dishfirst course salad

Ingredients

  • 12 ounces skinless sea bass fillets
  • 1 cup fresh grapefruit juice
  • ½ cup fresh lime juice
  • ½ small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped cilantro
  • 1 jalapeno, stemmed, seeded, and minced
  • Kosher salt to taste
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons minced red onion
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • ¼ teaspoon toasted and ground cumin seeds (see Note)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup julienned peeled jicama
  • 1 avocado, pitted, peeled, cut into ¼-inch dice

Instructions

  1. Thinly slice the fillets and then cut them into ¾-inch squares. Cover and refrigerate while you prepare the rest of the recipe. Put four small serving bowls in the refrigerator to chill.

  2. For the marinade dressing

  3. Combine all the ingredients in a bowl. Set the bowl inside a larger one filled with ice while you prepare the salad.

  4. For the Salad

  5. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, onion, cilantro, cumin, and salt and pepper. In a larger bowl, toss the vinaigrette with the avocado and jicama. Refrigerate.

  6. To finish the dish

  7. Add the sea bass to the marinade/dressing and gently mix. Let stand for about 10 minutes. Spoon the ceviche, with its liquid, into the four chilled bowls. Serve with the salad, and encourage your guests to top their ceviche with salad.

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