I don't usually test recipes before I serve them to company. There are just way too many recipes I want to try, and my friends don't like to venture across the Potomac that often. (Moving to Northern Virginia is D.C.'s equivalent of moving to Brooklyn from Manhattan.) But even though I don't test recipes, I try to stick to ones that I feel relatively confident making. So I was a little nervous when Nic said he wanted to make ceviche for the friends we were having over Saturday night.
We've both eaten a lot of ceviche, but I had never made anything like it at home before. Now that I have, I think I will be serving it a lot more. It is really easy to throw together, most of the time it is just sitting in the refrigerator. Ceviche is the perfect appetizer because it can be prepared well ahead of time and dished out right before serving, leaving you free to pull together the rest of your meal (which if you're like me, is essential, since I normally underestimate how long this takes by at least 45 minutes).
The most important part of the ceviche I think is getting a very fresh fish. I sent Nic to the Whole Foods fish counter to request their freshest fish, and that is how we ended up with the tilapia. The type of citrus that you use can also really alter the flavor of the ceviche. This time we used mostly lemon (because that was cheapest), but I think it would be interesting to try a lime and grapefruit combination. I'm looking forward to trying other combinations of fish, citrus, and other flavors soon.
1 lb. fresh tilapia filets, cut into 1/4 inch slices
juice of 9 large lemons
juice of 3 limes
juice of 1 orange
1 medium red onion, sliced thinly
1 jalapeno, seeds removed and finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
handful of fresh cilantro
1 tbs. olive oil
1 to 2 avocados, chopped
3 green onions, green parts chopped (optional)
-Place tilapia, citrus juice, onion, jalapeno, garlic and cilantro in a glass bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit in the refrigerator for 6 to 7 hours. When the tilapia is "cooked" it will be opaque and will flake fairly easily. Most of the citrus will be absorbed.
-Take the tilapia out of the bowl and shred it into small pieces. In a clean bowl, mix together the tilapia, olive, oil and salt to taste.
-Take the onion, jalapeno, garlic and cilantro, out of the bowl and roughly chop together.
-Divide onion mixture between 10 small dishes. Top onion mixture with tilapia ceviche, divided evenly between dishes. Garnish with a generous amount of avocado and some green onion.