It is always a treat when friends cooks for me. This simple but tasty dish is based on an appetizer that our friends Merel and Barthold served at a dinner party at their house. As usual with simple recipes, it all comes down to the best quality ingredients and good technique. Ceviche is a latin American technique to ‘cook’ fish using an acid, usually lime juice. Apart from using very fresh fish, it is important to ‘cook’ (marinate) the fish only for a brief time in the lime juice to keep it juicy and tender. Just like overcooking with heat, keeping it in the lime juice for too long will dry out the fish. The ceviche is accompanied by a very basic version of guacamole: just avocado, lime juice, and salt. You can throw this together in 10 minutes and it doesn’t require any cooking with heat, so it is perfect for a summer appetizer or light lunch.
Serves 4 as an appetizer or 2 for lunch
225 grams (.5 lb) sea bass fillet (weight with skin)
1/2 tsp salt, divided
1/4 tsp ground New Mexico chiles
Skin the sea bass, or ask your fish monger to do it for you. (European sea bass is known under the French name loup de mer in the United States. Other white fish may be substituted.)
Dice the fish (about 5 mm or 1/4 inch) and put in a bowl, together with 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon New Mexico ground chiles, and a teaspoon of grated lime zest.
Add the juice of half a lime…
…and stir until well mixed. Start a timer for 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, remove the skin and seed from the avocado and put the flesh in a bowl. Squeeze the juice from the other half of the lime on the avocado, and add 1/4 teaspoon salt.
Mash and mix with a fork.
When the timer beeps, drain excess lime juice from the sea bass.
Put a layer of avocado in tumblers or martini glasses, topped with a layer of ceviche, and finish with fresh cilantro leaves. Serve at once (as the lime juice still present will continue to ‘cook’ the fish).
This is great with a crispy dry white wine that has enough body to handle the creaminess of the avocado as well, such as a Rueda (Verdejo and/or Sauvignon Blanc).
This fresh pea velouté is made with fresh peas and mint, paired with crispy speck. The smooth sweet earthy pea soup works very well with the crispy salty smoky speck and the fresh mint. It is pretty easy to make and only takes about half an hour altogether.